So the Great Southern California ShakeOut happened to fall on a hot Southern California morning. As California natives and Rosemead High School teachers, Brian and I knew what to do. Get under the desks until the all-clear was issued, then head out to the West athletic field and enjoy Mother Nature. We've been there, done that. The problem is that Larry & Larry (AKA Callaham and Cecil, our bosses) didn't want us making a mockery of such an important drill, issuing a special edict barring us from taking the infamous Red Couch out to the field. Point taken. But considering Brian and I are both post-graduate educated adults with 23 years of teaching between us, my feeling is that they should have enough faith in us to take care of business before pleasure. I mean, seriously, after we went through the ten minutes (at most) of duck and cover, did they really expect us to bake out in the sun for the next 60 minutes (at least)? We didn't.

The official ShakeOut page from the USGS.

It was a late-start day so we had a short department meeting in Karrie Hensley's room. Brian and I had dressed appropriately for a day in the sun.

Then to Brian's room where Bill Crockwell and I played a bit of futbol, making Brian quite nervous (and, in all likelihood, for good reason).

We all decided to head back to our own classrooms to prepare for the earthquake drill. Except for Brian who, while deciding to use the restroom, made one vital mistake: he mentioned his plans to me. I, in turn, called Mike Tellez, who waited a couple of minutes before heading in to build a furniture mountain in front of the restroom door. On my way up I encountered Alex Rai who came in to watch the show unfold.

Unfortunately for Brian (and his bowel movement), the Great Southern California ShakeOut began early.

Poor Brian.

How many times do we need to go over it: duck and cover.

What I didn't get on camera was Mike taking Alex's evacuation classroom number sign and sliding it under the restroom door. When Brian finally came out the sign was in the toilet. I hope he flushed.

"Casualty of war." Classic.

Welcome to Rosemead, Alex.

Suddenly we heard the door on the other side open so we panicked. Mike and I made it out, but Mike held the door closed.

Poor Brian.

Alex wields his WND (Weapon of Nasty Destruction).


When Mike said he had to pick up some papers down the hall Alex decided to change sign sticks with him. We asked Maria Gonse, who promptly unlocked the door.

When Mike came back down the hall Brian and I tried to distract him while Alex made the switch.

Alex only got as far as pulling the room number off. Amateur.

So the alarm rang, we ducked and covered, took roll and headed out to the field where teacher aides Jessica and Brooke had already set up the EazyUp that Brian had borrowed from his dad.

The whole gang was there, including Bill and Alex.

Even Mike graced us with his presence. Anthony White also enjoyed protection from the elements.

Once the Trivial Pursuit made its appearance it seemed all was complete.

Yet, why was Brian not happy?

Not to worry. It's nothing a phone call from Wilson, the Pizza Hut driver, can't remedy.

Sorry about the squint; I wasn't used to being in the sun.

Ahhh, shade and pizza. As a bonus, I had only ordered two pizzas, but they threw in a third for free when I explained what the occasion was.

Deluxe, son, deluxe. Uh oh, don't look now, but somebody's pulling a Rockwell behind Alex.

"Mr. Callaham, this is agent Dhaliwal. You won't believe the shenanigans those guys are pulling this time."

The longer we were out there, the hotter it got. And the more people inched into our shade.

Zegers, in a Siddhartha-like manner, chose to stand and wait.

We just kept on playing the Pursuit.

Some of the questions were impossible.

Just ask Alex.

Even Brian was stumped at times.

I just kept reading them.

Alex wasn't the least amused.

I was. Pie me, biyatches!

When the all-clear signal was given an hour and ten minutes later, the EazyUp became an EazyDown and we headed inside.

Look at the immaculate space left after we cleaned up.

Just another day in Paradise.