Apr 22

It goes me, Robert, Dan, Festus

Back in the studio this evening, after an uneventful day in the office. We coordinated things that needed coordinating. We tested locks. I wrote emails about plans and set up Google Drive folders for those plans. I edited audio. I booked a podcast interview for next week. I spent the evening in the television studio.

We were also in the studio last night, and I can show you those programs now. Here’s the standard news show.

And there’s the pop culture and events show, as well. The theatre program here is hosting Carrie, and the actor playing the title role stopped by and sang a song. Having seen the classic movie, I was very nice to her and stood well away, just in case.

There are other shows I haven’t shared with you yet, so let’s catch up! Here’s the late night crew.

Following the video that surfaced of Sebastian’s surveillance of the NTL writers room, Sebastian and Mia are forced by IUSTV to show a scene from IUSTV’s newest spinoff show, “The Adventures of Duncle and Snephew.” Additionally, Sebastian and Mia sit down and chat with the Editor in Chief of The Crimson Post, Kyle Reynolds.

Somehow, I don’t think that tongue-in-cheek spin-off is going to make it.

A show with a lot of staying power, it’s been around five years or so now, is the morning show. Let’s check in with those guys. They interviewed two of the riders from last year’s winning Little 500 men’s team.

The show about films has a new episode, too. Behind The Curtain talks to a guy about his first production. It sounds spooky to me.

Speaking of film, fans of the format know of the legendary John Ford. Well, one of IUSTV’s newest programs interviewed Dan Ford, the filmmaker’s grandson, and author of the biography on John Ford.

Dan Ford is from a big Hollywood family. In addition to his grandfather, John, Dan’s father was Patrick Ford, a writer and producer of several westerns. Dan’s aunt was a film editor. He had a cousin who directed dozens of projects. His uncle was Ken Curtis who has 65 acting credits to his long career, most notably in hundreds of Gunsmoke episodes.

No one is ever prepared for the day when they discover they are three degrees of separation from Festus. Sometimes the amazing just happens.

This is the black sea rod or Caribbean sea whip (Plexaura homomalla). It contains an abundance of prostaglandin A, possibly as a chemical defense against hungry fish. Prostaglandin, in mammals, is a muscle relaxant. It also used to be used to induce labour, until a synthetic version was developed in the 1970s. It can also cause nausea and vomiting. The fish don’t like that part, either.

Here’s the black cap basslet (Gramma melacara). It’s a territorial fish, and that’s why you only see one in saltwater aquariums. I’m not sure what that little guy on the left is.

Look! More yellow tube sponge! There’s going to be some more Aplysina fistularis below, and I don’t even want to apologize for that, but I guess we’ll have to get into some new facts for it.

This is an anemone! Macrodactyla doreensis, I think. Don’t touch them, either.

Now back to the tube sponge. Did you know this is what SpongeBob is supposed to be? Now you know.

Look at it, sitting up there all tall and proud. Yellow tube sponges are filter feeders, taking in ocean water, and extracting plankton, bacteria, and dead organic material to consume.

And they must be hungry. Every minute this sponge can apparently pump an amount of water equal to five times its volume.

I like the little bits of reef that just pop up out of the sand.

Also, I like the sand. I’d like to just sit in that little sliver and do nothing for a few hours.

But there are currents! And I must follow my dive buddy.

Did you know I’m putting all of the little video clips on social media? They are getting rave reviews in the twos and threes! If you have some more time check them out on Twitter. You can also find them on Instagram, too.

Apr 22

Fire! And the salty water off Cozumel …

The fire alarm went off in our building at work today. This was not a planned event. Usually we receive a warning about a drill, which is helpful. This was not that. A terrible sound emerged from nowhere. Lights flashed.

A disembodied voice told us this was a fire alarm, told us to abandon hope, told us to open the elevator doors and stride through without gazing into the abyss below. The pleasant voice told us that we’d all be written off for insurance purposes, but some might make it out and those lucky few would get a chance to start anew. The voice asked us about other skills no one knew we had, told us finding a way to monetize those skills was the key to our newfound, lung scorched, skin scarred lives.

You want to weigh your options during messages like these. Is this a drill? Should you just stay in your warm, dry office? Should you honor the whuupping alarm?

You should honor the whuupping alarm.

So I gathered up my things and stuffed them in my backpack, and my half-sandwich, because it was almost lunch time, and this fire will not take my computers or my peanut butter half-sandwich!

As I write that, I am thinking of the few other things in my office that I didn’t carry, and I’m kicking myself a bit, but there’s only so much you can do.

I met The Yankee in the stairwell, because you can’t use the elevators. And, two weeks post-op, going downstairs is one of the more difficult parts of her recovery. What I’m saying here is she was slowing everybody down, and that recorded, disembodied voice needs a new line about who to avoid when making your escape from the fiery inferno that is coming for us all.

A police cruiser came. Two rigs from the fire department arrived soon after. The police officer went in to look at the fire panel, a computer system designed to help suss out the location of the supposed fire. Three members of the fire department went in, wearing their turnout gear. Sometime later they all came out. There was no fire.

There was no explanation. Just all of us standing out in the rain, waiting to go back inside, trying to imagine what it was that each person decided to bring outside. Happily, there were no problems or injuries.

Back to Cozumel! The fish take a back seat in today’s photos to the coral. Just look at this stuff.

I mentioned how these were becoming one of my favorite sites of this dive trip. I think you can see now why that was the case.

But just look at all of the other colorful sponges in that photo. It’s something to behold, is it not?

Sometimes you have to look up, because sometimes there’s something swimming above you.

Looks like an aquarium setting, doesn’t it? Note the two gray angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus) in the center, and the little blue damselfish (Chromis cyanea) in the distance.

The damselfish always seem to be in the distance.

These next two are the same little bit of coral and sponge, only because it is fascinating and beautiful and I couldn’t decide which one I liked best.

But you can see even more of the tiny, delicate details in those two pictures.

Always look in the vase coral. Because you never know.

These blue coral just seem to glow.

Wanna know about the best fish in the sea?

This is the best fish in the sea.

Apr 22

Fish aren’t sneakers, but shoes could look like fish

Spring arrives here just in time for the big bike races. Every year we’ve attended those races — Covid notwithstanding — you could either note the difference from the day before or, literally and seriously, during one of the two races themselves. This year’s iterations of the Little 500 take place on April 22nd and 23rd. And the spring series is underway, a whole bunch of smaller bike contests meant to determine qualifications and starting positions, and I guess spring is getting antsy, because we hit … 61 degrees today.

People were saying “You have to get outside! It’s beautiful!” And I said, we’re in an anomalous moment of a place with poor weather patterns and you’re missing the real takeaway.

That being it took until April 4th to get into the 60s.

There’s a lot of Stockholm Syndrome that goes into something like that. Warm winter, cold spring, and finally, finally respectable weather. What a weird phenomenon.

Also, I have not seen any robins yet. You usually see one or two here. Maybe it’s a migratory pattern issue. The bullfrogs have made their triumphant return, and the bike races, which really mean spring, are still two weeks away. Anything could happen.

There is presently snow in the forecast for Friday. Back home, they’re looking at 70s for the weekend.

The weather was lovely in Cozumel two weeks ago! Let’s see a few more of the neat views from under the sea.

The queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris) is really one of those specimens that comes to mind when I think “Shoe designers should all get their inspiration from reef diving.” You know this would be popular at the gym.

Be careful you do not get pinched by the Carribean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus).

More cool reef shots.

This would be a good time to say that one of the productive things I did this weekend was update the front of the website. Go check out the new art!

Isn’t that beautiful? And there will be more to add there as we work through the rest of these photos.

Meanwhile, enjoy this blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). You know that’s a running shoe or a basketball shoe color scheme waiting to happen. These guys live up to 20 years, which is better than any sneaker you’ve ever bought.

Hard to mistake the stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) for anything else. They can get up to two feet long.

If you turned to look away, this rock and coral formation would move closer to you. It always looked that menacing.

How many living things are in this photo, do you think? (There are three tiny patches of sand, but everything else in this photo is alive.)

These delicate little blue coral vases became one of my favorite sights this trip. So delicate, so intricate, so beautiful.

And we floated above it all.

Drift-diving Cozumel is a great experience. Please pay no attention as I am pricing out airline tickets for my next dive trip.

Apr 22

Some videos, and more photos from our amazing Cozumel dives

Before we go back under water, I’d like to share some videos

Here’s a sports show where they are talking about sports — specifically the NCAA tournaments, the final fours and all of this year’s cinderella stories.

And over on HSN they’re keeping track of all of IU’s varsity sports. And there’s a lot going on!

And on their longest-running sports talk show, it’s time for seemingly everyone’s favorite episode, where they highlight The Masters.

I’d say that topic would make it feel like spring, if it wasn’t a delightfully chilly 40 degrees under perpetually cloudy skies as I wrote this.

Also this week, a bunch of students I have had the good fortune to work with won awards at the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters annual conference. One of our seniors won top honors as best anchor — I think he’s won this award three of the last four years, he’s a hard-working and gifted young man. A grad student, who is also IUSTV’s long-running manager and general superhero, earned a second place prize in television copywriting. IUSTV’s news director claimed first place in a television package category. She’ll return in that role for the station next year as well. One of our new alumni took second place in that same category for a piece he produced in his senior year. (Another incredibly talented fellow, He also announced his new job working in summer league baseball, doing media relations and calling games. It’s only a matter of time for that guy.) Four of our wonderful students brought home second-place in the television news program contest, and one of IUSTV’s projects won the short film category.

If you’re still interested in all of this, I figure I have about another week’s worth of photographs to share here. If you’re not at all interested in this, I figure I have about another week’s worth of photographs for you to avoid.

Give or take, I’m sure.

Why do you go diving? You’ll never know what peaceful things you’ll run across below the surface. We shared a few dives with this guy, a young ER doctor from Canada.

To be zen, with bubbles.

Check in every vase. You never know what you’ll see.

How long did it take you to notice the little fish? (It is not in the vase.)

This is a gray angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus) first described in the mid 18th century, this reef fish is, today, quite popular in the aquarium industry. I can see why.

These are beautiful foureye butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus). Lovely shallow water creatures.

Another baraccuda!

This is an American whitespotted filefish (Cantherhines macrocerus), but it doesn’t have a lot of the spots the species normally presents.

That’s because the filefish rapidly changes appearance. It can go to a high contrast color pattern with a much darker background and many light colored spots, and it’s all about camouflage. They like to hide.

Look at this reef!

Or how about this one, and it’s yellow tube sponge (Aplysina fistularis).

This was an accidental photo, and I love it.

Dive buddy check!

She planned another great trip, and the evidence is all right here.

Mar 22

More fish, from the surface

There are four videos from this dive trip, too. You can see them all on my YouTube channel. Shorter clips are going on all the social media channels, as well. It’s a good way to remember being warm on these damp, overcast 45-degree days which somehow feel much, much colder.

Look at these sponges!

And here’s the beautiful French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru).

The bright yellow is a grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) and that black fish with the yellow fins is the (Hypoplectrus chlorurus).

And have a look at this fantasy fish, which I’m pretty sure comes to us from another dimension. I assume that because I can’t readily name it. Yep, this is some sort of newly inter-dimensional angelfish. Perhaps you know the name?

Another beautiful yellowtail specimen.

Everyone knows the baraccuda. This was one of three or four we saw on this trip.

How about a lovely Smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter)?

And look at all of this colorful growth!

Sometimes it looks random and natural and chaotic like that. Hey, it’s natural. But, sometimes, it looks like a posed aquarium.

And that’s why we go to see them. Chaotic or just-right, it is all quite beautiful.

More tomorrow!