Thursday, August 15, 2013


Bringing Earthquakes To Life
By Les Brown, The EQ Alert Guy

Final Draft Completed August 7, 2013
Copyright, August 15, 2013 by:
Les Brown
114 Maple Street
Edgerton, WI 53534




Chapter 1--How The Story of The EQ Guy Begins

Chapter 2--Film Production/Earthquakes,

Chapter 3--Actor, Carpenter, EQ Guy,

Chapter 4--The EQ Guy in Hollywood,

Chapter 5--California!!!,

Chapter 6--The “Digital EQ Alert” Age,

Chapter 7--Tracking Earthquake Energy,

Chapter 8--EQ Guy Meets Chicago Film Production,

Chapter 9--Quake Chase, SAG Card, EQ Blog,

New Updated "Epilogue" Now All Up-To-Date!!! @


I’ve been adding more and more followers, friends and fans in recent years and my last book written exclusively about my work with earthquakes, circa 2009, does not say everything I thought I might want to say. As my fan base and numbers have increased I thought more about a book that not only covers all the work I’ve done over the years with earthquakes, but one that includes more stuff about me personally and my life, than all of the other books I have written up to this point.

I decided to write a book that was a combination of the memoirs I wrote a couple of years or so ago, and a lot of stuff about me although only loosely based on either my autobiography, or Life Story of The EQ Guy, both completed but neither published anyways. I also decided right from the start that this book would not be a cut and pasted version of either of those books due to wanting to stay very current and wanting my voice to be consistent in a way that a cut and pasted story would never do. I also knew it would be far too much work building up to a paragraph or two that I was about to cut and paste which contained something about Hurricane Katrina. Also a great deal more difficult than just telling you the story from memory, checking the date of landfall and moving on. Just writing out what I know about that whole windstorm from memory makes for a whole lot of fresh material as historians may someday notice when they figure out my story doesn’t exactly match from one book to another.
Likewise you might still be able to read one book and still get something out of the other this way, and not a carbon copy of any of the stories! That would be up to the point where my story telling could or just might become redundant, in which case there still might be something different in there somewhere anyways, due to the two stories having been written at two very different times and places.

Here now are the combined stories of my life, my work with earthquakes, and how to track earthquakes, all written together rather nicely into this one very nice volume that I decided to call Bringing Earthquakes To Life.
Names were yet another problem from the start. This book does not try to be a memoir. It is not much of a life story since it leaves out a lot of my childhood, and Middle, and High School, and it sums up a lot of my work experience by referring to “Flipping Burgers.” While there may be a lot of earthquake stuff in it, there is no chapter covering one specific earthquake such as there are in my “Earthquake Memoirs.” Finally I do not go into much detail about tracking earthquake energy, I sort of just save most of that for the “How To” chapter and waste no time explaining how it’s done at that point.

I spent a lot of time coming up with a special title that tries to tell you exactly what this brand new book is all about. This book does not have any particular focus like my other three books and others I‘ve written, it is more the story of The EQ Alert Guy, who he is, some of his best earthquake stories, and how he does what he does which I thought might best be described exactly as it is in the title, or working title of this book. Herein I think you will all find that I am most definitely Bringing Earthquakes To Life!!!


I have far too many earthquake stories to tell. I try to write this story or that story all out in longhand both as a contribution to whatever writing project I’m working on and always as an eternal note taking service to people of the future who I always know in the back of my mind are watching and listening to everything I say in my words.

I don’t think all my present day friends would mind at all if today I dedicated this book to all of you who are reading this far, far into the future in a world where we always know when and where every single Major Earthquake is going to strike. This book is dedicated to all the folks who just heard about the guy who, back around the Turn of the Century around the year 2000 discovered all of these fantastic correlations and figured out how to use them to track earthquake energy all around the world. I want to send a very special Thank-You! to the people reading this in the year 2160, 2210, and 2960 for celebrating my 100th, 150th, and 1000th Birthday’s as well as everybody else who helped me along the way to get to this point in time!

Special Thank-You to all of the guys from all of my apprenticeship classes who just luckily have a virtually perfect score whenever I announced an upcoming Major Earthquake! Without all of you guys as well as the Arrowhead Water guys, I do not know if I would have continued my work! It has been the ability to bring those stories with me through life that has got me to where I am today!
I will not have enough room in my introduction to Thank Everybody! I have far too many folks who’ve been kindly receiving my E-Mail “EQ Alerts” over the years to thank all of you personally! I must thank the two kind folks from San Francisco who took the time to write me and thank me when I accurately alerted them to an earthquake that was headed for them back in July of the year 2007. Thank-You is over due for all my followers on Twitter, too! It was all you folks that put me into gear and propelled me beyond just a small time earthquake writer and out into the light as well as anyone who has randomly stopped by to read my EQ Blog.
I also want to thank the one or two sponsors I have picked up along the way even though you all know I never really ask for no sponsors, I have still managed to pick up one or two along the way. Thank-You All!

I also need to thank all my friends at Scripps and UCSD in San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Richard Allen at UC Berkeley, John Parrish, Richard Eisner, Chuck DeMetz, Jeanne Hardebeck at USGS Menlo Park, Lucy Jones at USGS Pasadena, Seismo in Reno, @toxic/CAquake, Dave Stewart, Hugo Mercado and everyone at the Bank of America in McHenry and Fox Lake, Illinois, Jonathan Edwards and all the Folks at, Lori Wexler and all my friends in Hollywood, Central Casting, Lissette, Allen, and all the Studios, Paul Cook, Mark Ridge, Joni, Darlene, Loren, Traci, and everybody in Chicago Film Production, and my mother. Each of these folks played a different part in advancing forward my work with earthquakes through the years.
With all of the help of all of you as well as probably many I didn’t list, with the help of each and every one of you, we will now go forward into the future of Bringing Earthquakes To Life!!!

Chapter One--How The Story of The EQ Guy Begins

There were so many of these major earthquakes that I was discovering had been preceded by a major hurricane or typhoon as I stared at the screen on the microfilm machine at the local library that I was literally astonished! I returned day after day each time with a new list of earthquakes to look up and started to continually find the same thing, that virtually all of them all through history had been preceded by the landfall of the biggest of major hurricanes or typhoons. On a few occasions I even walked in there with hurricanes or typhoons and did a few reverse searches and actually came up with major earthquakes that followed them, which I soon began to more and more already pretty much know I was going to find and it became only a matter of moments sometimes finding them. Just a matter of finding out where the earthquake hit after the big windstorm, or what Major Hurricane or Typhoon preceded the earthquake. Until August of 1994 came along and that was when Hurricane John made landfall at Johnston Atoll. It was the first time I was actually faced with a Major Hurricane that had just made landfall, and no Major Earthquake had yet struck but I knew from my research that one was going to! That was the day it was time for me to decide that I would now have to become The Earthquake Alert Guy.

When I was born my first few years were spent living on Old Highway 59 just across the river from Newville, Wisconsin. Not too long after that we moved to a house that I would live at until I was old enough to learn how to drive and then we moved again a couple neighborhoods over in subdivisions that were built along the shores of Lake Koshkonong in the early 1900’s.
One of the first real official acts that I remember actively participating in all by myself was operating my Grandpas old Studebaker Hawk one day when Grandma and Grandpa had just arrived at my house in it. Today I can’t explain how or why they all went in the house and apparently left me scrambling around there outside all by myself or if I just went ahead and let myself inside this car and went about this matter all alone, there.
So, one thing lead to another and before too long I was probably pretending to be driving it and decided to let the brake handle go. It was one of those that stuck up from the floor and could easily be grasped there between the two bucket seats in the front of this car.
It took off down this little hill that wasn’t really that steep and only took a moment to bump right into the nearest tree and I do not even recall it making a thud sound or anything, which it must have done because it was just a nanosecond before all of them very quickly came a running back out to see what that was that just happened.

We were watching the TV in the middle of the day one day when Walter Kronkite interrupted to say President Kennedy had been shot and those moments are still rather fresh in my mind even today! Although like the rest of you who were also there that day and watching any of this, I do not believe I remember too much of what Walter Kronkite said word for word, so here I am just relating the fact that I was right there in the living room in front of the TV that day and would have just turned 3 in August that year.

It was around this time that we had a major earthquake that struck Illinois and I can remember looking up at the stuff hanging on the walls in the living room and everything was swinging from side to side as the whole entire house shook back and forth for probably like a half of a minute or so. Maybe as long as a whole minute or however long the biggest Illinois Earthquakes shake that are felt in Wisconsin. This was a huge one and there are a couple of famous local ones from the early 1960’s so I am not really sure what one it might have been. Looks like that huge Alaska one also struck somewhere around this time with Kennedys assassination being right around that time, too, but as of this writing I can’t exactly say what earthquake this would have been. It sure made me wonder what earthquakes were all about, though, I know that much for sure!

One day I was heading for the bus stop or home from the bus stop, and came across an old what I know today is a mercury lamp in a junk pile out back of Ole Alme’s house up the street from me. Another old family friend brought me several old telephones and still another brought over an old intercom for me to play around with. The result of those gifts and a few more such junk type items was that I began messing around with stuff like that and enjoying the combination of either getting them working. . . or using some of the various parts to make other things out of.
The mercury lamp eventually worked well as a lamp for however much a person would actually need a mercury lamp to light up the place, that is about how much I would use it. Like perhaps on days when I would build a fort in the crawl space under the house or wherever. Just found out only recently while doing some research for the full length version of Life Story of The EQ Guy that it wasn’t actually a reading style of a lamp, rather I found pretty much the identical style of old lamp advertised and being sold as an antique sun lamp. In the process I also found out that Ole Alme, who lived up the street there and had this groovy junk pile, was married in Rockford way back in 1924 and lived on Main Street in a nearby city and ran a tavern there for many years.
Up to this point I hadn’t known where Ole Almes Tavern actually was. That is until just today, August 1, 2013 when I happened to ask a random town person who was just walking along the street of Stoughton, Wisconsin where I went to mail a S.A.G. voting ballot at the local Post Office there. A very kindly gentleman named Carl Sampson who had lived in Stoughton all his life answered that question for me. Ole’s first tavern in the 1930’s was right Downtown along the river, and his second one in the 1940’s was inside a building on Main Street that says “Citizens State Bank” across the front, although the bank folded in the depression. Carl knew Ole and his wife very well and that was a fairly lucky guess on my part just stopping a random gentleman like Carl and asking this random guy if he knew where Ole Alme’s Tavern was. Thank-You Carl!
Ole was also the guy who’s car started up and started running one morning while a couple of us where walking past in the morning on the way to the bus stop. He simply just explained it was an automatic starter, but must have had to have had it set for around 7 am or whatever time we just so happened past that day, not sure.

There was quite a lot of stuff going on down in Chicago that I should probably discuss here. First, long before I was born my Grand Father used to work as a Pinsetter at a bowling alley on the second floor of a building on Larabee Street in Chicago. He and my Grandma lived down in that area for many years before moving back to Wisconsin to raise a family. One of my uncles spent most of his life down there and gave me the opportunity to be the first person that I ever wrote and mailed a letter to when I was in third grade. He worked many years at a Bell & Howell Factory that I see today is now one of those condominiums with a Bell & Howell theme located somewhere along Irving Park Road, but I have not personally seen the place myself.
At some point in my early days I had occasion to be down in Chicago with my family to be in the audience for the Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club Show. This was probably at the Merchandise Mart although I do not know that for sure, just that what I remember about it like from having had a chance to look out the window and see the river below, I would say that would be the place, since it is still there today and still right next to the river in downtown Chicago.

First time I ever had my own radio was one a guy got rid of and gave to me and thereafter I can remember listening to David Gates and Bread on WLS for a while then one day discovering it had FM and after switching to FM never ever going back to that old AM radio dial and the end of WLS eventually came about, too, a few years afterwards. Over the years there got to be more and more good radio stations on the FM dial and the one I was listening to one day had an “Amateur Hour” contest where you send in and get to do a one-hour show if you are selected.
I was eventually selected! Me and one of my friends from High School drove up to 92FM on a Sunday Night and I sat right there in the studio at the audio console and basically just spun records for one whole entire hour. A few of those songs were David Bowie Young Americans, Queen You’re My Best Friend, Steely Dan’s FM, and The Rolling Stones Tumbling Dice without going all the way through the show and trying to name every song that I played that day from my High School years you know! There are still a few old tapes of that show floating around here somewhere, too, and I even run into one once in a while. . . one that was recorded on an 8-Track Tape!!!
So, that old intercom that somebody gave me at some point was next turned into an intercom that I was on at night and talking to my neighbors. Those telephones were used in Study Hall, I’m sure I had taken them for a project for some other class, though, with a hundred feet of wire and a battery in between them to talk back and forth and show all the guys how that worked, and this was also Mr. Walters Study Hall who was also later the guy who went on to teach the Earth Science class where I was to learn practically everything that I would know about earthquakes for quite a few years to come into the future.
Now there was also an Electronics Class at the High School and I actually had this class and rather enjoyed it until all of the math started to get far too heavy for me and I suppose I just plain started to not like all of the math on the calculator and might have been expecting to be using the soldering gun on some of those groovy electronic components quite a lot more, but anyways I do not remember completing that class or Electronics I, nor ever entertaining the idea of taking and learning all of an Electronics II if there even was one. While this sounds like the end of my career in electronics, it was really only the end of my experiences in an actual electronics class. . . there was a little more to do with electronics yet to come, due to there having been some “Ohm’s Law” on the test to get the FCC license that was at that time needed to get a job as a Disc Jockey on the radio. Therefore, I had to learn quite a lot of that math eventually anyways, but eventually did learn enough of it to get the Third Class License With Broadcast Endorsement sometime around the late 1970’s. Again having to drive to downtown Chicago to do that. To the tune of Boogie Nights, by Heatwave if that part matters to anyone reading this!
Of course there was the one time during intramurals we were playing a game of football and right at the end of class my team was on the fifty-yard-line and I told them I had been kicking fairly long field goals and wanted to try it from like 68 or 69 yards whatever because we would win if I made it, and I made it! In fact that kick was so long and apparently so great that the coach actually wanted me to go to college just for football if you can imagine that!
It was the fact that I started to buy and collect 45 Rpm records that eventually started to have a lot more to do with my life instead. I liked the idea of going to college and playing football and possibly even making the NFL, which today I do not see having happened due to the fact that I probably would never have gotten into a Division I school and don’t know how else I could have field goal kicked my way through a college and into the NFL. I continued on past that point that day in the ongoing pursuit of some of my other goals in life instead.

Eventually I had collected almost a thousand of those 45 Rpm records that a lot of you reading this today might not have even ever heard of. Another name for them used to be a seven inch record and there was also a 33 Rpm record that was like a ten-inch record or something like that. A long, long time even before my own days there had been a 78 Rpm record, but I never had any of those! Still see them from time to time at auctions, though.
Went to a lot of concerts back in those days with a band by the name of Blue Oyster Cult having been the first one that I went to! They were famous in those days for a song called Don’t Fear The Reaper. I suppose that song is still out there somewhere still today, I just do not hear it too much but don’t spend much time listening to radio, either. Also that record collection was stolen a few years ago and so I no longer have that nor any of those records from those days!

My first car was a 1967 Galaxy 500 and first job was up at the Newville Drive-In just across the bridge from where I lived right after I was born if you were paying that close of attention. In the years following High School I stayed at my Grandmas house taking care of her and also went on to buy a 1969 Javelin and used to get together with the guys and play guitars. We called our band The Kidders. There are still one or two tapes of us singing out there somewhere, but I’m not sure if I personally have any of them.
There’s probably a lot more about The Kidders in a volume I already wrote a couple years back titled The Life Story of The EQ Guy and so I won’t go any further into the band and all we did there since I’m sure that book will be released as well at some point. I was also in a car accident and am leaving all of that out here, too. Had occasion to meet up with today famous Sgt. Drew Peterson back in these days, too, but I gave all that info to the reporters down in Joliet in the days during his trial and sentencing in the year 2012 and that story doesn’t have a lot more to do with Bringing Earthquakes To Life so I want to leave it at that.

This was the point in my life when I started to do all of those really great things that eventually would lead me up to acting school and working in the movies. The first things I did along those lines were things like working in the junkyard, doing a lot of traveling with the objective being to see a lot of the things that a guy wants to see when he is young like that and doing a lot of those things, too.
Somehow back in this period of time I managed to get hired at one of those huge fast food chains where they come through there all day long ordering burgers, fries, and sodas or whatever. It was one of those really major ones that is still huge today, but I guess I’ll skip over which one it was due to them not exactly being one of my sponsors today and therefore I really have no other reason to give their name. Today I can think back and still recall a lot of the stuff that went into their kitchen there and the ingredients that go say onto one of their chicken sandwiches, and etc. I know they had bacon on one of their burgers if that matters to anybody reading this volume today. Again, not much to do with Bringing Earthquakes To Life, either, but a great build up to a lot of other jobs that I worked at in the 1980’s. I sort of wish I could have worked in that kitchen making burgers all my life but as they say all good things have to come to an end and I never really knew the reason that I just wasn’t kept on there forever.
I spent a number of years working for one of my friends mowing, pulling weeds and all of that stuff and riding bike out one of these nearby roads everyday while living with and taking care of my Grandma in the early 1980’s. They decided to install a satellite dish at their house up in Northern Wisconsin to the tune of Life In A Northern Town and one day I found myself up in Winter, Wisconsin on Fishtrap Lake learning everything there was to know about how to align and focus a C-Band Satellite Antenna. This was a 10 Foot Kaultronics satellite dish which I think at that time were made in Richland Center, Wisconsin. I actually made one or two trips up to that place later on when I went into the biz of selling and installing satellite systems myself, but since again this is not my life story we might just leave it at that.
Continued going to a lot of concerts in those days of the early 1980’s with the guys I was working for at around the time of the old FARM AID series that I think we probably all got together and watched on the satellite TV back in those days. Anyways I know I can’t recall anybody actually going to that one, but it was still back in the days when a bunch of guys would get together and watch something like that on the TV you know!
After a long stretch of going to concerts in Chicago at “Poplar Creek Music Theater” they eventually closed it. My heart, however, always remained back at Poplar Creek! It was just so beautifully laid out there in the middle of that creek! The creek itself literally ran directly through the Music Theater there and was a rather lush setting there. It is today right near the location of the Sears Centre outside of Chicago, like right next door to where Poplar Creek stood. The creek itself probably still remains crossing through that area, too. Even today Tinley Park the sight of Chicagos present day outdoor theatre is hardly beautiful by comparison, you know, and to get there from home, one would have to drive all the way through Chicago and like an hour on the other side of the city. All of those things you could say combined to more or less bring my concert going days to an end, aside from still going to just an occasional one.

The whole entire story about me being a disc jockey in High School, collecting records, and going to concerts again, is probably in my life story which will probably be out at some later date but today I want to stick with the business of Bringing Earthquakes To Life so let us move on.

At the end of one of the lawn mowing and weed pulling seasons I decided to take all of the money that I made during the summer and take a trip out to New York on Amtrak. So I packed a few things in a backpack and must have took a bus to Union Station in Chicago and really enjoyed the ride across Ohio and Pennsylvania and a lot of the sights! One of my favorites was a town that the train enters and drives right down the middle of the street through their downtown while virtually dodging cars on all sides of it and driving straight through intersections and all that. Journeying up and around famed “Horseshoe Curve” that has long been famous all through history, three or four miles west of Altoona, Pennsylvania, was probably about the greatest moment of my life up to that time. Citation: Wikipedia: Horseshoe Curve. After some sightseeing around the neighborhood of Penn Station, where I detrained at, it was all over too soon and I ventured over to the Port Authority Bus Terminal where I caught my ride home on a Trailways bus. I was to return to that city many times and eventually seen everything there was to see there and practically have that script from the NBC Tour memorized and even got to read the starring role in it at least once! Won’t tell you how it ends, though! Especially loved the N-Train to Coney Island and my complete tour of Central Park that came in later years.

To this day there has only been one really huge and big and long bike ride that I can really say I’d been on and that was the day they were taking applications for jobs at a nearby place where I decided it was going to be a nice day and so I would just ride bicycle over there which was about fifty miles. Worked out great getting over there and seeing the sights along all of those back roads that I still journey on once in a while today while recalling that great bike ride of about a hundred miles all together round trip. The problem came on the way home when it became very hot riding and that slowed me down considerable, but I did make it just the same. Just that I seem to recall the last mile or so being a rather tough ride getting to a town that had a store where I could recharge my system with a slice of pizza! It was just very basic science to me in those days, and I had no idea that was how physiology actually worked, but that slice of pizza charged up my system so much that I had ample bursts of great energy in me to charge home at some of my best top speeds on that bike and always wondered exactly how much my system DID charge up from that one slice and in the back of my mind would wonder just exactly how much farther I could have continued on with that one slice of pizza. Would have liked to have run into a pizza place out in the middle of all of those miles, and miles of farm fields that I journeyed past on that trip instead of riding practically fifty miles with no place to stop, too! Today I am even afraid of bike rides that take me out into regions where there is no place to stop and tend to shy away from them. Not sure if it has anything to do with that big ride that I took that day or not. In fact as I am writing this there is one specific ride known as the Capital Cities Trail around the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin that totals like thirty miles if you leave in one direction and circle the South Side of that city and come back into town from the South. It would probably be one very nice ride to take that whole entire circuit, but seems to have no actual stops where a guy can stop for a slice of pizza or a sandwich or any of the things that I seem to have decided a guy needs to make a great bike ride complete.

The satellite TV business consisted mostly of a lot of different types of satellite antennas, mostly the ten foot models, however there were a few eight footers and six footers that it was said did not pick up the signal from satellites as good so far north as we were at up in Wisconsin. Therefore it was best to always use a ten foot dish and that is pretty much all I had any experience using and so I never really worried too much about the matter beyond that. There was also more than one type of electronics set up, however I primarily did my business with the LNB type system which I preferred over the slightly older LNA system that shows up in a couple of locations where I might have been hired to do some sort of modifications on other aspects of the system as needed and not affecting the electronics part of the system.
I ran ads in some of the local papers and sold these right out of the garage at my Grandmas house and at some point put up a nice ten foot Kaul-Tronics dish out in her back yard where there was a great view of the south horizon to pull in the whole satellite band. That system was also the last system that I eventually sold before moving on with my life on my way to Bringing Earthquakes To Life.
So, I went here and there buying all of the stuff that I needed to build the next satellite TV system and then went on to the next one, occasionally having to stop by a bank somewhere to cash one of those big checks when I got paid at the end of a job, you know. That was all good and fine. . . right up until the day that they decided to scramble all of the best TV channels that had been the main selling point for those satellite systems in the first place. The next thing that happened not long after everything became dependant on the use of a General Instruments Descrambler was that they next started all switching over to the much smaller Direct Broadcast Satellite Dish. It was further way unfortunate for little guys like myself that we were never given enough mark-up on the smaller ones to survive! Could have sold them to us for a couple hundred dollars and let us make 50 or 75 dollars on one of them, but instead the mark-up on them was like ten or fifteen dollars and hardly enough to pay for the gas to drive up to a customers house too far north where they need satellite antennas the most you know. I checked and double checked many, many times before realizing that it was to be the end of the satellite TV business. One of those really tough breaks that a person hates to have to face up to, especially when things were going as good as they were in the satellite TV systems business!

The next thing I went on to do was to get some experience working in a junkyard just like I had always dreamed of doing! That job basically consisted of cars coming in and me taking a lot of the best parts off of and washing them, tagging them, and putting them on a shelf somewhere. I would also from time to time need to take a trip out into the yard where all the junk cars were neatly all lined up by make and model and remove whatever part a customer needed. A few of these such trips out back just so happened to have taken place on, wouldn’t you know it, the coldest days of the year! Then there was the one time that I was working on a car that just so happened to be lined up along the furthest row to the west there at this specific yard and naturally it bordered with the farm next door and my tool box brushed up against that ELECTRIC FENCE there! You can guess what the punch line to this story is already! Finally there was the day that one of the bosses horses died and how that ended was with me being sent over to that same farm very near where I contacted the fence with my toolbox and it was my job to bury the dead horse. Probably not something that folks get the opportunity to do real often and I have to admit that so far up to this point in my life it is the only dead horse that I have had to bury.
Other jobs that I had in those years, and I notice this takes up several chapters in the volume I have titled, Life Story of The EQ Guy, are building steel buildings and building silos. Using those tools that are required in both of those two jobs will eventually become more and more important to me in leading up to all of the work that I will eventually be doing in California and towards all the stuff that I am going to eventually learn about how, “Precision Plate Tectonics” works. Thinking back along these lines and comparing the tools used as I was talking about there, you could say building satellite TV systems required a couple little wrenches for cable ends and a couple large wrenches to turn the big bolts needed to adjust the declination on the antennas. The junk yard required adding one or two wrenches and a couple screwdrivers, and steel buildings required a couple spuds and a bar or two that were readily used on them other jobs as well as left and right air force pliers if that is the word they liked to use. Tin snips is the actual name of those tools but one that I had to add when I eventually went into that biz.
Building silos used a lot of even more new tools that I had never came across before including a bolt holder and some other stuff that is used for different jobs specially related to how they build those things, you know. Although I have to admit to never having the vaguest idea back in those days that all of this would ever lead to me being on the leading edge of Earth Mechanics and the tools that would eventually help me in Bringing Earthquakes To Life, you know!

It was a job that was on the road that eventually would lead me up to some of my first jobs in the movie business. One day as the big job in Kinston, North Carolina kept on going and going and going it occurred to me there wasn’t going to be enough stuff going on there to fill up my free time. That was when I noticed that some of the movies showing at the local movie theatre looked like fairly good movies and so as a result that was the point that I started going to a lot of movies.
Some of the movies I was going to see back in those days were Coming To America, Beeltejuice, Bull Durham, Cocktail, Twins, Young Guns, Big, Punchline, and A Fish Called Wanda.
It was the day I went to see the latest Francis Ford Coppola movie, Tucker that I was probably most inspired to get involved in the movie business. This movie had got some press for the fact that it was shooting a lot of the scenes in one of the nearby major cities. Not sure right off hand as I’m writing if it was Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, or where. When it came to the part that I had been waiting for, the actual Tucker Factory that had also apparently been discussed in at least one news story for all the work they did to prepare an old building for this movie. . . it was a shot of Victor Mature taking the last couple steps out in front of the building while the camera Zoomed-Wide to a Wide-Shot of the whole entire building as Victor takes one last drag off a cigarette and drops it to the asphalt. He then steps on it and puts it out with his fancy shoe and steps out of the shot while we see the whole exterior of that building and possibly Zoom-In on the Tucker Factory and then CUT.

In the next scene that relates directly to me eventually Bringing Earthquakes To Life, I was back home and going to another movie back in Janesville at the old movie theatre at the Janesville Mall that’s no longer there it is a Chuckie Cheese Pizza place today. I picked up that program with all of the latest movies listed inside of it like I always still like to do today. I especially like to see how many of the movies listed in it that I have already seen with ten being the number I usually like to hope for and occasionally reach, too.

On this particular day that I am talking about here I was in the theater waiting for the movie to start and taking a look at this program thing with all the movie synopsis’ in it. That was when I came across an ad for an acting class going on in Chicago that promised to teach how the professionals do everything and get you jobs in the acting business!

This was the point in time when the road to Chicago would soon become the road to Bringing Earthquakes To Life!!!

Chapter 2--Film Production/Earthquakes

I took all the classes that place offered and started to get calls to work as a Background Actor during the renaissance of Chicago Film Production all throughout the 1990’s. I was told on more than one occasion that I had a “Wonderful Face” and stuff like that kept me going, and going, and going! The jobs building steel buildings and silos eventually came and went with me also having to take some afternoons off in order to get to acting school on one occasion from a silo building job all the way over near the Mississippi River where I had to drive all the way across the top of the State of Illinois to get there! I framed the certificate that I got the day I graduated from that class and it presently decorates the wall in the back room of the basement.

This is the part where I started to get a lot of calls and started traveling to Chicago quite a lot to work on practically ALL of the latest movies and TV shows that were shooting there during that period of time where we had as many as like five or more shows all shooting there at one time. It was also the days where just the one single casting agency was doing the vast majority of all the casting for those shows, too, and it just so happened that they were the agency and folks that liked Les Brown THE MOST!

I had what some people like to call a lot of luck at getting some pretty good parts in some of those movies, too, and meeting a lot of guys who I still consider some of my best friends in the movie business today!

The first time I was working on an actual Major Motion Picture was a very basic part where in the end I am just mixing with a number of other actors on the inside of a bar on the Southside of Chicago while the two stars of the movie exit the bar and cross the street to get on a bus. You can probably look closely at the front of the bar in that shot and might be able to see me in the window somewhere, but I think that is a pretty typical first job in that business. It wasn’t too long before I was back in basically that same neighborhood dressed as a homeless person and pushing a shopping cart. I was also in one scene we shot at O’Hare Airport where they had an actual airplane driving back and forth out on the tarmac and like pulling up to a gate or pulling away from it or something. Close to where I was seated there was one of the directors with a radio that I discovered was talking to the airplane and probably another director with another radio telling the driver of the plane to turn around and start the scene over again after every take.

Now because I am sort of trying to build up to the Northridge Earthquake here, I want to say here that I do not know for sure what all projects I worked on exactly before and after the Northridge Earthquake, so I will kind of just give you most of the projects that I worked on in Chicago back in the days and then discuss the earthquake knowing that I might have put one or two of these projects before the earthquake. . . and we might have not actually filmed them until the days following the earthquake. There is also a small amount of confusion checking these movies at places such as Internet Movie Data Base, IMDB, where you will usually get the release date and I am rather discussing the production dates and a few of these movies come up very, very near the date and are closely woven in with the day of that earthquake and it is even difficult for me to figure out which ones we had already shot before the Northridge Earthquake when you also have to realize that one or two of them were in production in Chicago that day, too!
So, with that there was also one other one that was my claim to fame when I could see myself crossing at the end of an alley in a new TV series that we had been shooting and I was actually on the set the day someone came running in and hollered that the show had just been canceled.

I was also spending a lot of my spare time writing scripts for major movies and this was exactly what I was opening my notebook to begin doing when I turned on the TV on the morning of January 17, 1994. Probably flipping through all of those handwritten pages and possibly reviewing the last several pages that I had written like the day before when the TV comes on and announces that they had just had a Major Earthquake in Los Angeles and they started showing a lot of the San Fernando Valley on fire and wrecked buildings and everything. This was a shocking sight and you could say it was a rather nerve wracking day from that point on not knowing what all was going on out in Hollywood and how this thing with the earthquake was affecting all my new friends in the movie business. It would quickly become a day that I decided not to just continue on writing and going about my usual script writing work. Rather, it was a day that I eventually came to spend figuring out how I was going to go about trying to be of some help. Knowing I was probably not going to be getting on a plane and flying right out there even if there was something that I could do during their immediate time of the most need, I imagined them not really needing me to lend a hand out there in person, so I continued on in an effort to come up with some way I could help.

I must have given a lot of thought to a lot of different possible solutions, but eventually somehow came up with the idea that I would immediately begin looking into what might have caused that earthquake in the first place. At about that same moment I can recall grabbing the recycling bag that contained all the most recent newspapers and systematically tearing through them! I don’t exactly know how I came to the conclusion that I came to in the coming moments. I suppose I could rather easily take a quick run to the local library where that series of newspapers that would have filled the recycling bag on that day would probably now all be available on microfilm and I can spin through them all fast enough to possibly illustrate what I found, but until then I will just have to try and explain it in verbatim.
I recall in some other of my writings joking that one of the first things that I found was that Cher had just done a show up in Salt Lake City, but probably knowing that didn’t have anything to do with the earthquake, I kept on searching. Probably a few other things such as that might have showed up in all of those newspapers of which we might normally have several weeks worth of in just the one recycling bag located either right in the kitchen somewhere or just outside in the garage and on this day I’m sure I carefully checked through all of the newspapers that were available there.

Possibly based on the fact that maybe there had been a lot of stories about the weather or for whatever reason, I came to the conclusion in a matter of about two hours of this sort of research, that the Northridge Earthquake had been preceded by severe winter conditions all across the United States and I must have also seen a story that mentioned that there was four feet of snow in the Sierras because I was thinking that could have played a role in the earthquake, too.
It seemed at best plausible to me that extremely low sub-zero temperatures, two feet of snow covering most of the country, and fifty-five mile an hour winds could have affected the tectonic plate enough to force the western edge of the North American Tectonic Plate up against the Pacific Tectonic Plate out around the San Andreas Fault. Knowing that such things as cold temperatures cause contraction in metal, wood and probably most all materials, and that the weight of all the snow could then push down on it and out at the tectonic plate boundary. It wasn’t much at the time. . . but it was enough to convince me to continue on with this project and go on to devote still more time to it, even though I knew I was to now be devoting time that I would have usually been continuing on with my script writing projects.

That was a big decision that I had to make right there. I had to decide to devote still more time, yet, to this project not knowing how much additional time I would now be donating to the earthquake project toward ultimately trying to hopefully be of some help to all my new friends out in Hollywood. I am now going to devote even more time to the project and in the future would ultimately decide several more times in the future that there was enough good reason to keep on with the project. This moment in history would not be the only time that I would have to more or less just drop everything else I was doing. . . and put some time into what I eventually started calling my new job of working with earthquakes!

I decided that it was something I should take a trip to my local library and begin looking into. The next big surprise came when I started to compare what I found preceding the Northridge Earthquake and it did not match up with the events that preceded a lot of the other Major Earthquakes throughout history. One of the things I found immediately was that there was not even close to a correlation with earthquakes all striking in January, which might have been one of my early theories.

The system I used to do this research was initially that I would take the dates of some of the biggest earthquakes of history and go through all the old newspapers from the days that preceded it similar to how I discovered those most severe winter conditions that preceded the Northridge Earthquake. It didn’t take me too long on this project to discover that all of these other major earthquakes that I was researching had not been preceded by winter conditions at all, rather I was finding Major Hurricanes and Typhoons making landfall in the days preceding all the rest of them! It’s even sort of ironic as I am keying this into my laptop today that I had been led to this point by a correlation with severe winter conditions and that few or none of the other earthquakes had been preceded by severe winter conditions, don’t get me wrong, I would eventually use severe winter conditions in December 2003 and December 2009 to make Great Predictions! On the other hand the landfall of the biggest hurricanes and typhoons made a lot of sense to me the same way those severe winter conditions did after giving it some thought, too!
One particularly interesting edition of the Janesville (Wisconsin) Gazette, might have been Janesville Daily Gazette then, from 1923 bears the banner headline “Japan Deluged With Disaster: Typhoon, Earthquake, Landslide, Fire.” I might assume that I originally discovered this headline across the top of the front page which I will check with them one of these days and see about permission to use, while I was looking up all the biggest earthquakes of all time knowing Japan had a few of them. Probably by looking up “Earthquakes” in an old brick and mortar encyclopedia, you know.

Came a time when I also walked into the library with a name or names of big windstorms in an attempt to reverse research this whole potential correlation and am here to tell you that reverse research was also very successful. After a while it was just as easy to walk in there with the name of a big windstorm such as a Hurricane or Typhoon and go through a few old newspapers into the future days beyond the landfall of one of those biggest of windstorms and find out now what Major Earthquake occurred as a result of that landfall. This would have also probably been about the time when I came up with the saying knowing that medium sized windstorms cause medium sized earthquakes, big windstorms cause big earthquakes, and the biggest windstorms of all time tend to cause the biggest earthquakes of all time. Therefore you could more or less say that I usually already know, before I start to search the days after a huge hurricane or typhoon makes landfall somewhere, just about exactly how big the earthquake that follows is going to be.
That also reminds me of a way that a person can still to this day always double check my work by trying this process out for yourself simply by finding a huge hurricane or typhoon from somewhere throughout time and checking the days and weeks that followed to see where the big earthquake would be. You can also try to guess where it might be at, too. Today I go by the month, say September 1989 when Hurricane Hugo made landfall at Charleston, South Carolina, you would simply then type the following month in, such as say for instance “Earthquake October 1989” and see what results you will get.

It was necessary for all of this research to make sense to me at every step along the way in order for me to keep continuing on, and continuing on, and continuing on at this seemingly now endless life of researching, researching, and more researching not ever actually knowing if and or when there would ever be an end to it.

I think there was actually a point in time one day when some of the other activities that I once enjoyed had to begin to take a backseat to all of the work I was now doing with earthquakes. I know for sure that the few minutes every day or so that I used to take time to enjoy some work on my guitar was about one of the first things to go. Couldn’t hardly find even a spare half-hour a day to pick the thing up much less the few minutes it might take to play a scale on it and try to tune one or two of the strings. When was I ever again going to find the time to plug the bass into the amp and play some of my favorite old songs like “Heard It Through The Grapevine.” As videos from those days will probably prove it was the end of me recording much in the way of music and guitar playing at all. . . . . and starting to be the beginning of me doing a lot more stuff with earthquakes which would also one day start to become my latest videos! Not fun, but possibly worth all the time I was to be putting into it.

About all that was missing up to this point was the work I was doing as an actor in Chicago Film Production. This was an activity that would go on for a little while, yet but not too long. I was now finding myself walking around on-set and talking to people to find out which ones were from Los Angeles and then asking them all sorts of questions about earthquakes. It wasn’t that it ever really bothered any of them to be on set talking about earthquakes so much as it was the fact that my focus just didn’t seem to be exactly where I might have wanted it to be. I would have much rather gone on and completed the renaissance of my days with Chicago Film Production by continuing to meet the awesome people that make it all possible and continue on getting bigger and bigger parts, but that would have to become talk about earthquakes now, and I knew it would eventually start to spell the end of all of the drive that I had that got me to where I was at right at the moment of the Northridge Earthquake. It was now time for me to begin to back off from my acting. . . . . and begin my new job of Bringing Earthquakes To Life.

Chapter 3--Actor, Carpenter, EQ Guy

My first great story from the days after I decided to try out this new combination of Actor, Writer, Carpenter was one day in one of my apprentice classes that I was now taking for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. There must have been a hurricane that struck around Florida because from memory I am now going to say I announced to the other guys in this class in Milwaukee that there just could be a Major Earthquake striking that weekend like Central America or somewhere around there.

This is today the very first time that I had ever made such an announcement in such a public place as one of my apprentice classes and a Major Earthquake actually struck that weekend. It was a big enough one that there were probably pictures and news stories about it all over the news because on that following Monday morning there was no doubt with this class of guys that I had told them like on Friday about an earthquake striking. In the process that came next of them wanting to know how I knew there was going to be an earthquake, I simply tried to explain it off as being no different than the information that we are there learning on a daily basis right there in that Carpenters Apprentice Class.
That answer did not satisfy the one particular guy who was quick to note that I did not learn how to do that in apprentice class, no. “Not in these here books you didn’t” he went on to tell me. Of course I didn’t exactly learn all of it in those books, but the point I wanted to make that day was that my work with all of those tectonic plates is all in all very much similar to the work we were doing in that class of measuring and figuring stuff out and there was even one book that dealt with vibration analysis which to me seemed very much similar to what I was doing but of course his point was basically that it wasn’t where I learned how to predict major earthquakes like that.

It wasn’t too long before my newest idea of combining script writing, acting, and carpenter work was starting to work. There was enough carpenter work to keep me busy from the day I started my very first job with them in June of 1996, until the end of that first job around October and there was still plenty of film production work around Chicago at the time that I was able to continue doing that in between carpenter jobs.

Two of my biggest acting jobs of all time came around right about this time in history, give or take a year. The first was the day I was cast as “Prisoner 2” right next to Luke Perry in the movie Normal Life, and the other was when I was cast as “Thief” in a big scene in the CBS-TV Series Early Edition.
In Normal Life we were prisoners in handcuffs walking a hallway to an elevator and there was like five or six of us “Prisoners” who got in the elevator and actually two of them were jail guards. Beyond that point I do not want to tell you what all transpires due to it becoming the ending for that particular movie and you might wish to watch it some day and not already know how it ends! We were in a lot of scenes together and one of the other guys playing a prisoner turned out to have also worked on that commercial where I played the bum in the boxcar. He played a scarecrow out in the middle of a corn field, although he must have shot his scene on a different day because he was not a part of the characters shooting out at the farm on the day we worked on that commercial. The commercial is one of the next stories, too.
At some point they were filming the final scene and me and a couple of the other “Prisoners” wandered out to the parking lot to see what all the commotion was all about and I ran in to a couple of my old friends from the renaissance of Chicago Film Production. They were playing either Chicago Police, or Illinois State Police and Fred even had his very own police cruiser! There is a picture of me and Rocky posing together with the theme being I’m a prisoner and he’s a Chicago Cop with him holding the baton over my head, you know. That was a great movie job and when all the dust settled I was in close to ten different scenes as the guy standing right next to Luke Perry in the elevator mostly. At one point they gave me some lines to say, but I’m not really sure if I was too great of an actor at that point and those lines never made the final cut of the movie so far as I have been able to see. Could be other versions out there where I am seen saying something. . . but it could give away that ending, of course.

The other big and great part that I was cast for at about this time was a character named “Thief” in the CBS-TV Series Early Edition, that actually appeared right in the script. I even had practically my own whole entire paragraph explaining who I was and what I was doing in the show. It said something like, “And then a THIEF enters the scene and should either steal a ladies purse out of the baby carriage or somewhere and then have an encounter of some sort with Kyle Chandler.” Of course that was nowhere near what the exact words were, I just did the best I could at reciting them from recalling the brief moment when I saw it in the script. The characters name who was played by Kyle was Gary Hobson, but I couldn’t tell you if either name was in there or not. It also might not have said the part about the baby carriage, either, because I know that me and the director made a lot of the stuff up standing there and trying to figure out how the camera should pan from the scene of a fender-bender over to where I was about to do my thief business. I finally spoke up and told them exactly what they taught me in acting school and the director loved it. That was to do whatever I might do myself in the situation and if it was me, I told him, I would look around quick and then turn around and put the purse back into the baby carriage and run. Well, today you can view that exact scene and I even made sure I recorded a copy of it for myself and that is exactly what I did in that scene. Ran that whole entire distance of the city block along Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago about twenty-five times in order to get that shot just right, too.

Probably the biggest job of my film acting days back in Chicago in the 1990’s was the day I got the call to work on a commercial that paid Screen Actors Guild scale. Today it is the commercial we all know as Cropduster and it won a Gold Cleo for Cinematography at the Cleo Awards that year. We shot the first scene that was shooting that day as the sun was rising in the east there along Sandwich Road a little ways west of the furthest suburbs at that time. The cropduster was in the process of flying past and steering up and over some power lines just past the farm house and it took the pilot a few tries, but he eventually managed to get climbing, accelerating, and turning to the right all just right so the director liked it and then we moved on.
The ironic part of all that was that later in the day we were filming my part on the back of a flatbed truck built to look like the inside of an old train car with two bums riding in it, when the cropduster flies by us. The first time we could see just the two tires on the bottom of his airplane and the director hiding next to me behind a couple bales of hay called him on the radio and said to fly lower next time. Well, that worked because he flew lower the second time and I could see the whole landing gear. Eventually he got it just right again like he did with the scene we shot in the morning out in front of the house and that was the end of that shoot. Me and the other bum discussed the fact that it didn’t really matter how many times it would have took the pilot to get the scene right since we were getting paid S.A.G. scale and by that time of the day it was double-time and so it paid rather good while the director directed him there that day.
The other dude in the boxcar with me that day ended up being from Wisconsin and later he got the whole story about that commercial in the State Journal in a story that ran in the Rhythm Section which lead to an interview and then another story in my local newspaper.
Just this summer as I am now composing this here manuscript there was a huge movie that was also shot down there in that neighborhood called Man of Steel. Just south of the location that I still end up driving past there from time to time, is the town of Plano, Illinois and during production they had the entire downtown rebuilt by the movie company to be “Smallville” and actually be the town or one of the towns where Superman encountered some trouble without giving too much of this movie away, either. Although I had submitted my picture and resume on that project I never got called to work on it, the casting wasn’t one of the local agents, and so you do not need to look for me in that movie. I can say I am sort of hoping they make a sequel someday and shoot down in that neighborhood again someday.

On the movie Hoffa where Jack Nicholson plays the part of Jimmy Hoffa, there were more than a thousand of us playing the part of striking teamsters. This was a re-enactment of a big railway strike that must have taken place at some point in history. They did say it was like in the forties and we all had to agree to have our hair cut real short into 1940’s business haircuts. I didn’t have to think twice before I agreed and anxiously waited in line there behind a lot of other guys who might not have been so anxious. One or two actually had their hair quite long that day and it was somewhat of a scene on the first day standing in line to have the big haircut. I wasn’t much of an exception that day myself, since I had grown my hair down over my forehead for quite some time and had it growing over my ears from time to time, too, as well as down almost to my collar sometimes. Not sure how long it was on the day that I showed up for the haircut, but I can honestly say that the business haircut they gave me that day just so happens to be the way I continue to cut my hair today.
This shoot ran about ten days counting that first wardrobe day which might also have been the haircut day, not sure and some of the hours were particularly long, too. One of the days required like 1700 guys so that we could portray a huge scene where all of us striking Teamsters broiled over into a massive fight with the non-union “Scabs” that had been taking over the docks and it was a huge Malay! We spent a certain amount of time in what they called “Stunt School” being taught how to do all the fighting and hitting and falling down and all that stuff. In those good old days that used to be a really big deal to me since I was just starting out and all that stuff. Anymore today I like to say I try not to do anymore stunts if I can help it!
We turned out to be a huge part of the movie when it came out! The whole entire combination of all the scenes we shot in the railroad yard takes up about twenty minutes of the final cut. I met a lot of great guys on that project who I would continue to run into all through the remainder of the 1990’s and even a few of the casting people are still around Chicago today as well as probably a lot of the crew guys doing all the different jobs that make Chicago Film Production what it still is today! One of the questions I always still like to ask guys who I work with on movies and stuff is “Did you work on Hoffa?”

On Judgment Night I was really proud of the fact that I had one whole entire scene all to myself as a homeless person who was pushing a shopping cart across a vacant lot on the Southside of Chicago somewhere. This is another of my best as far as being able to see me in the movie, however they did take a lot of Close-Ups of me and I did not see any Close-Ups of me in the movie and so as a result you never really get to know it was me pushing that shopping cart.

On the movie The Fugitive I just so happened to play a homeless person again. This time in front of a homeless shelter where the two U.S. Marshals were asking us questions. I said some lines there in answer to their questions when they were asking me if I’d seen this guy before and showing me a picture. Something to the effect of having seen him around before, but not knowing who he was. Not really thickening the plot of that movie to the point that when they do arrive in Chicago in the movie they skipped right past us and had already found him at the hospital or wherever he was. I call that making the cutting room floor, which I managed to do my share of times, too.

There were only one or two more earthquake stories from these days, since I had realized that my new business of tracking earthquakes depended on big giant hurricanes making landfall and of course there would now not be any big hurricanes making landfall for what seemed like many, many years after 1994 came to pass. One that I do remember and probably have a whole write up about in my Earthquake Memoirs was named Hurricane Alberto, which made landfall at around Destin, Florida. It looked like the earthquake energy would probably travel up across the Atlantic and strike right around those countries along the northern border of Africa or a small country called Algeria. I only now know this because of doing some research for that other book I wrote a few years ago and have updated a couple time since, Earthquake Memoirs. It wasn’t too hard to find the name of the earthquake that struck Algeria since there have only been like two or three all through history and one was in 1954, one in 1980 and one in 1994! Well, how hard of a search was that? I like to say that with the internet now it sure speeds up some of those searches, you know. Today I can not even say how I might have discovered such a fact prior to all the resources the internet gives a person access to.
The more I got involved in my work with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters the more I was going out on some great construction jobs actually with the Milwaukee Millwrights Local who are UBC. Lots of good power plant jobs all around Wisconsin along with a lot of other different factories where we moved conveyors and machines around, too.

I know I stopped before I wrote out every single acting job and audition that I had in Chicago since I also have Life Story of The EQ Guy around here somewhere and the whole entire list of all the movies I worked on really belongs in that book, and not this and so I will say the same about construction jobs. Yes, I went out on a lot of construction jobs and was at a small power plant over by Whitewater in the summer of 1999 when it was starting to look like there might not be any work coming up for us. The guys were talking about all the new power plants being finished and up and running, and a lot of the big manufacturing outfits where we had been getting a lot of our work were now laying off and certain not to be needing much construction work. The guys began talking about all the things they do when construction work slows down in the Southern Wisconsin area. . . they search around to other areas and try to find who might still have some work going or jobs that might be coming up.
I had been out to Los Angeles a few times in my life up to that point and so among the towns that I made my calls to was L.A. While it was more of a place that I might go to do other things than construction work, construction work had proven to work out ok with my acting and so as a result I was not afraid to call around out there and see what was going on in the construction biz in Los Angeles.
I actually found some pretty good info and it was enough that I didn’t think I’d have too much of a problem finding work. Not sure exactly what the timeline was on all of this big decision making that I was so busy doing, it seems like it was probably after that last job at Whitewater had ended that I was doing all the planning. That would make sense because I clearly remember the job at Whitewater being where all the guys were talking about searching other places for work and that would have lead to me calling L.A.

So, I had a whole sheet of names and addresses of different motels all around the Los Angeles area and it was only a matter of deciding if I would want to head down into what I thought might be more towards the middle of their big industrial area. . . or take a right off the Ten Freeway (I-10), and head up to Hollywood. I suppose you could say that it didn’t matter what way I turned when I arrived in Downtown L.A., because by then I was well on my way to Bringing Earthquakes To Life!!!

Chapter 4--The EQ Guy in Hollywood!!!

Much of the road that leads to Los Angeles is still road that I routinely drive over today to get to local places such as Springfield, Illinois or St. Louis, or Oklahoma.
I’m still always remembering those old Gunsmoke radio shows playing as I merge from I-39 to I-55 and cross the hills of Missouri wherever I may be going today. All of the Route 66 stuff you see along the roads also takes me back to the times when I drove back and forth to L.A. quite a lot back in the days. Since then I’ve been able to buy and download several old Gunsmoke Radio Shows off the internet somewhere, and have them on my I-Pod where I listen to them quite often. I am also getting a collection of different Route 66 stuff including a couple of coffee cups and T-Shirts around here somewhere.

Not long after I settled in up in Hollywood just a couple blocks down Franklin Avenue from where Ronald Reagan settled in years before me, I found myself at the Santa Monica Pier with the breeze off the Pacific Ocean blowing hard in my face. However on this occasion it wasn’t just the wind that was noticeable, or the theme song from the Scooby-Doo Arcade game that rings constantly non-stop through the air there, on this occasion the wind was blowing so strong that I noticed the ground was also moving considerably! Santa Monica Pier and all began rocking back and forth with what could have been one of their famous “Santa-Ana Winds.”

Well it occurred to me as that moment with both the wind and the earthquake kept on blowing and shaking, that the ground movement was probably not related to the wind blowing. Or had possibly never up to that point in history ever been connected to having both happened at the same time and this possibly or maybe probably being connected.
I made the decision after a couple of moments of thought that the wind blowing, and I looked around and up at the hills in the distance there, wind was not only blowing in my face but it was also a part of the much larger movement or air forcing itself up against the mountains, probably the Santa Monica Mountains, and must be also pushing against them. This would probably be why the wind blew a second THEN the ground started moving in concert with that huge gust of Santa Ana Wind that was blowing in my face that day at the Pacific Park! That’s the name of the Amusement Park situated on the Santa Monica Pier.
That wasn’t the end of that thought process that day by no means. I went on to check out the list of local small earthquakes routinely published in one of the local L.A. newspapers and also a list of big gusts of wind routinely published like in the Weather Section of another.
The results of this inquiry were almost unbelievable to me that day and still kind of are today even. The number of major wind gusts on this list read identical with the list of two and three magnitude earthquakes with the only difference being the Weather Service had been rounding off the time of the gusts to the nearest five minutes and of course the time reported for the small earthquakes had always been recorded as the exact moment down to the second, or tenths and hundredths of a second as I just figured out in one of my most recent EQ Blogs from like yesterday! The two lists matched IDENTICAL and were proof positive that every time the wind blew out along the Pacific, the ground moved in the same exact manner. In fact I could clearly see that day that even bigger gusts, say 50 or 55 mph were connected directly to 2.5 or 2.8, or 3 Richters earthquakes, while more minor wind gusts of say 40 or 45 might lead to smaller shakers in say the 1.8 to 2.4 Range although I do not have either of them papers here today as I write so those numbers may not be exact.

My first memories of my days of living in Hollywood besides listening to the old Jack Benny Shows on cassettes every night until I fell asleep, include the fact that I discovered the ground moved all the time pretty much every day out there. Not only that one experience at the Santa Monica Pier, but I started to notice and count as many as 4 or more earthquakes a day sometimes. Earthquakes were so common in Hollywood that I wouldn’t even set my drink on my desk there at my Hollywood Apartment, I’d place it on the floor next to the desk so if one would shake too big and dump it over it would already be on the floor and not on one of my screenplays I was working on at the time or whatever.

It was August 23 and 24, 1999 that the news was reporting the landfall of Hurricane Bret near Brownsville, Texas as a CAT-4 Hurricane with 145 mph wind speeds! There had been quite a lot of damage down around the Rio Grande Region including mud slides and it didn’t take too long before I figured out that the brand new earthquake energy from that landfall would be heading directly for all of us right there in Hollywood as well as all of the Los Angeles area.
As soon as a check of the maps confirmed what I probably more or less already knew, I began to take action! This would not be the first such alert for me to have to deal with as far as needing to write out a few letters to my various associates mostly the ones who are situated in some of the most earthquake prone areas around California. I can recall drafting a unique letterhead I drew up specifically for this purpose and there are probably still a few of these out there somewhere!
In other books and stories I’ve written on this subject I’ve used the term “Career Suicide,” but that was now long ago when my acting career was really that much of a concern! Today I have my Screen Actors Guild card and don’t really care too much if I tell an agent or agencies there might be a major earthquake heading for them, but when you are just starting out with only one or two little jobs under your belt including your latest “EQ Alert” as a part of your introductory cover letter was always what I then knew to basically just be career suicide.
Today it’s probably just a lot more clear to me that it never really mattered much because those letters that probably included my headshot were such cold direct sales anyways that it was virtually always highly unlikely anything would ever become of any of them. I would sum it up by saying “Hello, enclosed is my recent headshot please consider me for a part and there is a major earthquake heading directly for you, Thank-You!” And who wouldn’t call that guy back or whatever?

Buried somewhere I might have notations as to who I might have sent some of those early EQ Alerts to via snail mail, but I know for sure I never kept any copies for myself. One of these days I will try to draft a reproduction to show what the letterhead sort of looked like.

Next, it was time to begin telling all my neighbors and friends as well as everyone I came into contact with in my day to day travels.
I can still remember the discussion I had with the one guy in particular at the 7-11 on the corner of Sunset and LaBrea because he knew quite a lot about earthquakes and we stood there and talked almost an hour all about every earthquake that had ever struck Los Angeles and he’d been in all of them! So he was not at all surprised when I was going around and saying there was going to be a Major Earthquake hitting Los Angeles in the coming days.
There were many others that I probably told all of this to all around Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Fernando Valley and all of Southern California, but some of the ones who would eventually confront me with my findings were the folks who lived in my apartment building right there in the middle of Beautiful Downtown Hollywood!

Well let me tell you what happened there! Yes, as pretty much always happens after I go to the extent to tell everybody under the sun there is going to be an earthquake. . . the 7.1 Richters Hector Mines Earthquake struck very early on the morning of October 16, 1999, and the girl in Apartment 23 next door to me immediately went running out on the balcony screaming, “EARTHQUAKE!!!” The Apartment Manager was right out there and it was a lively conversation considering that I just found that 2:46am Pacific Time was the exact time of that earthquake!
As soon as I was awake I immediately turned on the TV and Radio to find out what was going on. It was a while before the news radio station I was listening to was to know anything about exactly what had just happened. They did talk a lot about the possibility that they would actually need to go running out of their own building at any moment and had some concerns for their own lives it sounded like. While the building continued to shake with aftershocks, I seem to recall them covering comprehensively each and every single aftershock in a “Whoa, whoa, whoa” type of format if you can imagine it! There was a caller from Pasadena who reported having found a shed in his backyard and he didn’t have any idea where it came from. The announcer also noticed they were not getting any calls from the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire is the large metropolitan region immediately East of Los Angles and according to Wikipedia tends to refer mainly to the South West Corner of San Bernardino County and the North West corner of Riverside County that is considered a part of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. It makes up the third most populous region of the State of California. So, anyways this “News Radio” station that I had been listening to for everything that was going on that morning, wasn’t getting any calls from this huge major metropolitan region and it was sounding like they naturally assumed that the epicenter of this major earthquake was somewhere immediately East of Downtown Los Angeles, or East of East L.A.

Eventually they got a call from a guy at Cal-Tech who reported that the epicenter had been up around Barstow, in fact at that moment just fifteen minutes or so after the earthquake it is possible he reported the epicenter as Hector Mines, the name this L.A. Earthquake goes by today. Hector Mines is a small possibly a ghost town today, situated out in the middle of the Mojave Desert surrounding the Barstow area where it was all at one time a huge booming mining region, but mostly all desert today. It turned out that the reason the Inland Empire was not calling the station that day was because their power and phone service was probably all knocked out in the initial shock.

It would be later that day before I would finally run into one of my neighbors and naturally I was confronted with the fact that I had been talking about a Major Earthquake
striking in the recent days. I was on my way out the door and about to head on down the stairs to the parking area when the girl from Apartment 23 caught me and immediately asked if I knew there had been a Major Earthquake early that morning. Well, I had things to do and have never been one to spend a lot of time hanging around and talking about one of these right after it happened. . . I’m more the, “Yes, see you next time there’s a major one, then, I guess I’ll be telling everybody about it again, then won’t I” kind of a person as far as that goes I think, Lori. Bye. I’m thinking I was probably on my way up to Hector Mines right at that moment and I’m quite sure I would have took as much time as it takes to talk about such things with your neighbors like that, you know!

The trip up to Hector Mines might be covered in it’s entirety in my Earthquake Memoirs, or Life Story of The EQ Guy , today I just want to explain how it helped in Bringing Earthquakes To Life! I found there to have been a bridge that crossed I-40 that was badly damaged and upon close examination it had been literally pulled apart from North to South and the two abutments having been displaced by about 4 to 6 inches left a several inch gap between the two concrete sections on the North abutment completely tearing the roadway in two! It appeared to me the ground had not only shifted majorly to the North, but at the south side of it off a mile or so in the distance was the Amtrak train that had derailed in the midst of that early morning earthquake. Now I had to ponder this observation for quite some time and am not even sure if I came to this conclusion right there on the spot, or if it was a conclusion that I came up with in the days, months, and years that followed.
Today I can tell you that the train crossing through that region or what appeared to be a shallow sort of valley in the middle of the desert, struck a spot like thin ice where it either sank or shifted the immediate probably huge rock sort of earthen part, I refer to as a “Krunk” from the portion of an atom, causing the adjoining parts of the earth to then shift resulting in a lot of other parts doing a lot more shifting and the ground then settling or whatever movements were all taking place at that exact moment and then the earthquake taking place as those huge movements all connected to each other and eventually at some point in all the shaking pulled the abutments of that bridge in two. The train probably did not just so happen to be there at that epicenter, there is no doubt it played some kind of a role. It was a worthwhile trip up there to the epicenter of the Hector Mines Earthquake that day! Got a couple great pictures of that bridge, too!
It wouldn’t be too long before this sort of thing would be happening again, though, which I suppose shouldn’t be too big of a surprise considering I was in California!

That was how my big introduction to Hollywood went! At least as far as an introduction to all my neighbors was concerned. Sure to be more written about that subject as well as all my work with Central Casting and at the Major Movie Studios during my time up in Hollywood, but since this volume is not exactly being written chronologically, I want to keep the focus of this chapter on those big earthquake predictions that I made in front of my friends while living and working in Southern California.

The next one is still today by far one of my biggest, best, and favorites! Not that my Hollywood Apartment one was small or any less of a favorite, you understand. By time April of the year 2000 rolled around I had been on one or two construction jobs in Southern California, or SoCal as the locals like to call it, when the job at the Arrowhead Water plant in Ontario, California came along. Working at one of those bottled water plants was a rather new experience for me and I would have still been in the middle of my apprenticeship, so I enjoyed all there was to learn. How they do this, and do that and etc., of course everything going on there was all fairly new to me back in them days, although I did a long stretch at a Metal Container plant at one time, so I had seen and worked with some sort of similar stuff you know. Of course the type of conveyors and machines they used in a bottled water plant was still all very different from anything I had ever seen without going into any more details there mostly for proprietary reasons like most of those big companies prefer we not say how exactly the bottles are made, or how they do a lot of the different stuff inside such a place.

As this big job went on I got to know all the guys on the job very well and one day it was time for me to speak up about my work with earthquakes. There must have just been a major windstorm of some importance that made landfall from the Gulf of Mexico on to the Western shores of Texas because it was a Friday when we were taking our break at our picnic table in the shadow of big old Mount Baldy that I announced that they should all be watching for a Major Earthquake that weekend. I told them that to make it official I would say late Sunday Night or Early Monday Morning and the magnitude should be around 5, 5.3, or 5.6 Richters and I clearly recall saying it won’t matter because I already sat there and discussed 5.3 and 5.6, so I thought it kind of too late to now say exactly 5.3, or 5.6 with my point in the end just being somewhere in that area.

At that moment it wasn’t really that big of a deal, Virgil across the picnic table from me just said “We’ll see, then” and that was pretty much the end of it.

When Monday Morning rolled around it was just another morning getting up and showering and getting dressed while NBC-4 Los Angeles was on the TV, until the moment came to put my tape measure on my belt and that was when Fritz Coleman announced that there had been an earthquake with the epicenter in Fontana! The magnitude was like 5.3 and the time it had shook was like 4:15am. I wasn’t sure right at that moment if I was the only one who was going to know about this one, if I was going to have to explain that it happened, or if any of the guys would even care. As it was, I was going to have to try to convince them I had even said it on Friday in the first place, which I was not looking forward to.
It was a long several hours of work that morning although I couldn’t tell you what task I was busy at, I can tell you when morning break arrived there sure was a lot of excitement in the air! One of the guys began asking the others, “Who felt it?” before we were even out the door of the building. The first few moments of the conversation might have dealt entirely with where the epicenter was, who felt it, and where they were at geographically at the moment it shook. Mostly referring to where they lived and how far from the epicenter of the earthquake they all lived, because I remember everybody telling their story with reference to the city they were from and if they felt it or could of, or would have felt it considering their distance from Fontana.
Then it was time for somebody to mention that they somehow knew it was supposed to happen. “Because you told us right here at this table on Friday” were Virgils words. “You said there was supposed to be an earthquake with the epicenter very near here” pointing at the table in front of him. May not be his exact words, but that’s sort of close.

The rest is history today! He was kind of angry about the fact that it shook his house since he lived practically AT the epicenter in Fontana, but the whole thing went rather well considering.
I was never exactly sure how many guys were there that day at the picnic table out in front of the Arrowhead Water plant where they make and bottle water. There were at least two guys from the plant in Arrowhead Water uniforms and an unknown number of us construction guys including our boss Bill Williams who came out and joined us at one point.
At the far end of the table to my left also facing Mt. Baldy and also like me with their backs against the wall of the building were several other guys who I had worked with but one in particular who showed up in my apprentice class a month or so later. I worked with him on the Arrowhead Water job and he was also about to help me with my new job of Bringing Earthquakes To Life!

Aiden Rios walked into class and as soon as he saw me he announced, “Hey, everybody it’s the guy who knows when the next earthquake is going to be!” Then he turned and asked me, “Hey EQ Guy, when is the next earthquake going to be?”

At first I was really surprised to see Aiden in my apprentice class, but on that occasion I didn’t waste any time getting right to what was going on with earthquakes right at that moment. I announced it to the class that it was amazing he should ask me that question right at that moment because there just so happened to be a huge earthquake heading for Central America right at that moment and that I was expecting it to strike as soon as that weekend. I told them this one wasn’t going to be a small 5 Magnitude earthquake like the one at Arrowhead Water, no! This one was going to be more up in the 7 Magnitude range. Again, I never knew right at that moment if I’d ever hear any more about that prediction again. That is until a Major Earthquake struck somewhere around Central America!

You could tell it by the looks in these guys eyes that on Monday Morning after the earthquake hit they were all in a state of disbelief! I remember them crowding around me and among other things wanting to know how I had predicted it so closely and so correctly.
I seem to remember that day as having been the actual moment that I decided I would have to write it all out into a book and that was even sort of the answer I gave to this bunch as they waited for an explanation as to how I had been doing all of this predicting.
I simply summed it up by telling them I use a combination of different things such as phases of the moon, high and low tides, and that it is just so incredibly complex that I would probably have to write it all out into a book someday so that they might then be able to just read it out of a book much the same way as we were reading the books all about the Carpenters business right there in our apprentice class that day.
I suppose it wasn’t so much that it was incredibly complex at the moment they were all surrounding me and asking, as much as it was the fact that there was still a lot I didn’t know about how the system worked myself, but I probably figured giving them the answer, “I don’t know,” was not the best answer I could give them right at the time, either.
Being right there in the middle of all this as it was happening, I can honestly say that I am today very comfortable with the answer I gave them! I enjoy the fact that it was the exact actual moment where never having thought about it before, I just blurted it out without putting much thought into it that I would probably have to write a book all about it someday.

It worked out pretty good because here’s that book, you guys! I also want to take a moment to personally Thank All of You for helping me with Bringing Earthquakes To Life!