That was some sunny day

It got up to 42 degrees here today. And, for the best part of the day, it was sunny. This, I think, is why I have the unshakeable and mistaken feeling that spring is just around the corner. It’s the sun. I’m in recovery from years of the midwest’s monotonous gray skies. Right or wrong, early or on time, I look outside and think, it’s coming.

“It” being spring.

But it’s not. Not yet. We could be two months out from spring, somehow, but I see green grass and blue skies and shadows and I smile. I smile and I wait and wonder.

Where I park on campus I have to go through a little security checkpoint. There’s a guy in a hut and he’s looking for a sticker on my car. The guy that works the evening shift is an older gentleman. Quick with a smile and full of good patter. Every time I see him my goal is to make him laugh. I don’t think he gets a lot of that in his work role, because he’s always the one delivering the cheery spiel and the interactions may be plentiful, but they’re necessarily brief. So I try to bring a joke, or an unexpected reply to a gregarious man who has one-liners down to an art. But when you get him, he’s got a fantastic laugh. I asked him if he, too, thought it felt like spring. Two more months, he said.

I was afraid of that. But I smile and I wait and wonder.

Tonight in class we talked about some of the work of Lev Manovich and Jurgen Habermas. The students get Habermas pretty well. Manovich is a bit of a mystery, but they come around. We also talked about Photoshop, because that’s coming up in class.

I start this spiel like this. You don’t have to know everything about Photoshop for this class. You do need to some things, and we’ll touch on many of those. We have terrific tutorials available to you online, and I’ll try to one-on-one with you, if it might help you. I tell them they can follow along on the incredible tutorials and spend 19 hours and be well-versed. I tell them the way you learn this program is by doing, and that there are several ways to do the same thing, which comes down to preference and your efficiency. I tell them I have been using Photoshop for a quarter of a century, now, often on a daily basis, and I don’t know how to do everything. Don’t sweat it. You learn as you go.

I say, if I were a gambling person I would bet you a dollar that I will learn something about Photoshop, this program I’ve used for 25-or-so years, in the course of this class. And so then we do a few things on the big screen — which the students tolerate, I’m pretty sure.

In the new version of Photoshop there are mini-tutorial videos built in. You mouseover a tool or a panel and this little box pops up. You can play a short video that gives you an overview. It’s well done. I point out a few of those. And then, on the third one, I actually play the video. It runs 52 seconds. Tutorial demonstrated.

And then I say to the class, “Remember how, about 10 minutes ago I said I would learn something about Photoshop? Just did.”

Big laugh. Human element of the class instructor established. Another thing crossed off the To Do List.

Back underwater. It is a mild winter here, but I’m still in Cozumel in my mind.

Check out this anemone, which the divemaster is helpfully pointing out.

Look who is strong!

In an upcoming post, I have a great and impressive anecdote to share about strength underwater. So keep coming back to look for that.

But, for now, here’s another mysterious brown bowl sponge.

Or, if fish are more of your thing, here’s a closeup of a sergeant major.

And this is the saddest site you can see on a good dive. You’re tank is running low, and you’re having to ascend on an afternoon dive.

I’ve got another good six, eight minutes of air there, guys.

(For some reason, I suck down the first third of a tank like I’m never going to breathe again, but I can stretch out that last 1,000 or 1,200 for longer than anyone would think possible.)

It probably has to do with heart rate. So let’s talk about cardio. Since I last talked about riding my bike, last Wednesday, I’ve covered 164 miles, and am on a nice little streak of six consecutive days with a ride. My legs are starting to notice, too.

One of those rides was in virtual Scotland. I saw the virtual aurora borealis.

A friend of a friend has a wife who seems … I only met her briefly, once, several years ago. She leaves an impression and it might be the wrong one altogether. Anyway, we were talking about Alaska and she was talking about the shopping there and what there is to do and what isn’t there, and all of those sorts of conversations are insightful about a place, because you can learn new things, and a person, because you can learn what they value.

She found the aurora borealis to be utterly boring. And the malls, too.

I have never seen the aurora borealis in person, but whenever there are photos, videos, when a news story pops up, or when I see them in virtual Scotland, I get a good laugh.

So boring.

Anyway, with any luck, in a few days I’ll set a new personal mark for most consecutive days riding. This is the sort of thing that means nothing to anyone, but the person doing it. Eventually, it won’t mean much to that person, because there will be other goals to achieve.

If my legs keep working.

Tomorrow, we’ll see how January worked out, mileage-wise. The cycling spreadsheet returns for 2024.

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