The Garret Tree
Friday, December 31, 2004
The Asian Tsunami

Throughout the week, I kept remembering the 1964 tsunami along the West Coast. The waves ranged from a high of 67 metres near Valdez, to barely noticeable ripples on a beach. I lived in Kitimat, British Columbia, close enough to the epicentre that we felt the earthquake, but there was no tsunami racing up Douglas Channel to smash into our beach.
Why is that? It depends, as I wrote in my column for, on the luck of the fjord and what scientists call the "natural oscillation frequency" of the fjord.
You can read the column: Tsunami '64: The luck of the fjord on the West Coast.

Links on where Canadians can donate to Asian quake relief

My plans to work on the book during the week between Christmas and New Year's were largely forgotten. As the news got worse from the rim of the Indian Ocean, there was more and more work to do; creating photo galleries, watching for new satellite images of the areas hit by the tsunami, trying to sort the pictures sent in by readers — some were genuine; others were not. Luckily they were caught.

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Monday, December 27, 2004

The phone rang late on Sunday evening, December 26. I had been watching the news of the tsunami and earthquake most of the day.
My senior producer asked me to create a photo gallery for from the first pictures available from the stricken areas, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.

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Sunday, December 26, 2004
A pretty good Christmas and took some time off to celebrate, and at the same time, made good progress on the book.
Went to one brother-in-law's house for Christmas Eve dinner, turkey and the trimmings. Went to my sister's for Christmas Day dinner, roast beef.
One nephew is six, his brother 10, kids who loved playing electornic Pokeman. That was the fun, Christmas and kids.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Connections with the past. As part of my last minute research, I tracked down the family of a U.S. Marine in who had been a prisoner of war Changi Jail in Singapore. The Marine, a survivor of the U.S.S. Houston raised the Stars and Stripes on the jail tower at the moment of liberation. I needed details to describe that moment in the book.
Today the Marine's son sent me a copy of his father's diary, including a photocopy of his address book. In that address book was my father's name and the address of his parents in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, England. This is the first time that my extensive research, too much research in fact, to make the book a substantial narrative, has actually turned up a connection to my late father.

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

New blogs as of Sept. 2009
Robin's Weir
Tao of News

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    A River Kwai Story
    A River Kwai Story
    The Sonkrai Tribunal