Jul 22

The turf and surf menagerie

Last evening, during a walk, we saw a deer.

We saw two deer, in fact. Who knows how many more were just out of sight, watching us.

We also spotted three rabbits and two squirrels.

The highlight was surely the stray cat that came into our back yard. Poseidon noticed it, and was most emphatic that the interloper be removed. After a time The Yankee went out to check on the cat, and decided it looked like one posted on the local Next Door community. She called the number. We kept the kitty — spooked but healthy and hungry — in our yard until they arrived.

They were nice people. The woman is desperate to find their pet. Last weekend they drove 80 miles one-way to see if a cat was theirs. It was not their cat, but they adopted it anyway. So they are nice and passionate people, and perhaps cat thieves. Who can tell with these things?

And then they … wouldn’t leave. So they were nice, passionate, perhaps cat thieves who did not pick up on the social cues. Who can tell with these things? But they’d come over from a few miles away and it was a break from yard work or research or whatever they were doing. They also offered to take this other cat.

So definitely cat thieves, then.

Somewhere during all of this our neighbors came out to visit and we found ourselves having a party in the side yard.

None of this sounds like much, but they stayed on the porch for a good long while, and it was otherwise a evening, so take this elderberry and be happy with it.

If that’s not enough, congratulate me on completing the Cozumel diving social media project. Since March, I have been uploading daily clips of our diving to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Tens of people, perhaps, have seen them. But if you missed all of that somehow, just click the Twitter link and you can see them all threaded together.

Or revisit with me those videos in the longer form on YouTube, where dozens of people have watched. I edited them each day of the dives.

I am very popular on the world wide web.

Apr 22

One more day of looking back

There is great virtue in this capacity we have to remember things. It is probably a byproduct of the ability to learn things. And communication, verbal and otherwise, easily comes from there. It’s not enough to have the experience of a predator scaring you or harming you or getting in the thick of things. You have to learn he’s a predator, and remember that for the next time, and so on. There’s a lot of learning required in that phrase, and so on. So you keep accumulating knowledge. Then, it seems wise to pass it along to the family clutch and beyond.

We just keep accumulating and sharing knowledge and, over time, that’s how institutions are made. You can’t have habits and cultural institutions without memories, after all. That, and reasoning, is how we got smarter: Don’t eat that, because Grog did, and then he doubled over and died. Then Jork did, too. After Arussa got sick, we noticed a pattern. So don’t eat that.

Memories are like that, but they have limitations. You simply can’t live in them. Life is for moving forward.

He said, while inviting you to briefly rehash the day, revisit last month, and consider books written about events in previous centuries.

One of those days where I had to leave one studio to go to another studio, to go back to the first studio.

Then I did that thing where one meeting ran long and into another meeting and so on, for a while. And then back to the studio for this or that, and more meetings.

The only thing missing was a high volume of email.

I’ve gotten four-weeks of blog content out of our Cozumel vacation, let’s wrap this up with one more miniature photo-dump. This is not a food blog, of course, because food photography is harder than it looks. But eating in Cozumel was amazing. I’ve been thinking about the tacos and sopas every day since we left.

Those both came from this place, which we sadly only visited once.

Just down from our condo rental there was a roadside shack that more or may not have been a gimmick for the gringos, but it was delicious. We ate lunch there three times. None of that is pictured, since it was a bit of a quick hit-and-run thing between dives. The sopas were incredible. We also visited a few other small holes in the wall, and one nice tourist restaurant that was good, until it wasn’t.

I have a “friend” who was at a baseball game on a beautiful spring day and, thinking he’d rub it in that he was somewhere I’d rather be, and that I was in Bloomington, he sent me a photo. But I just happened to be standing right here at the time …

… and, for once, I won the point. And all I had to go was visit a tropical destination.

One more view, a little closer to the beach.

Let’s catch up on some books, before I forget to remember once again. I wrapped this book up sometime last week. It’s a collection of essays, written by academic historians, discussing lesser known people involved with varying aspects of the American Revolution. Most of the subjects I’ve never read about, so this was an insightful read all the way through. And it answers the question “What would I have been in that period of history?”

I’m reasonably well-read and educated, here, but there? I’d probably have been stuck in a life as a farmer or leatherworker, without a lot of opportunity for upward mobility. It’s a classist society after all, the 18th century. You’ll revisit that a lot here.

Alas, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s a good book. Deeper than a Wikipedia entry, not as intense as a monograph, and it covers a lot of different types of people in several places in one important period.

I read this one this week.

This is a curated collection of recollections of the Allied liberation of western France. You normally see this from the American or, perhaps, the Canadian or British perspective. This is about the locals. Roberts, herself an esteemed historian at the University of Wisconsin weaves it all together, but the meat of the book is the collection of interviews she’s assembled. Most of these memories are compiled from people who were children, or young adults, in the 1940s, and many of them have the softened glaze of time. So they’re precious and valuable. And, like any memory, they are distinct right up to the point where they aren’t. Plus, I don’t know if you knew this, there was a war going on around them. So there’s that, too. As always, you want more, until you get enough. And when you’ve had enough you might realize this was too much of that one thing. But what about this other? Memories are like that, too.

Apr 22

The ways we fill our days

I washed my car this evening, because winter is over — I hath proclaimed it, he proclaimed — and because there was still daylight left after my work day.

And by “I washed my car” I mean I took it to one of those middle-of-the-road drive through car wash companies and spent $11 to get dust and salt and grime off the car.

This one doesn’t have the dryer jets with the big wheel that descends onto the car as you drive out. Those always concerned me as a child. The wheel landed right there on the windshield, and then rolled over the car. Why is this not a problem for anyone else? Instead, this one has two vertically mounted dryers on either side of the exit. There’s a helpful clock in blue lights, telling you how long until these things stop blowing hot air which, as I type this, seems like a feature we should all be required to carry.

You try to time it just right, the whole of the car deserves the same amount of time in the drying phase. Except you’ve no real idea when the front of your car begins to really feel the warm air, so it’s just a guess. The experience will likely be uneven. And then you try to rationalize it. Why shouldn’t this part of the car get more drying time? Then you wonder if you’re somehow distributing the air flow unevenly, as you creep through the blow zone, because of driver bias, or a misperception of the precise size of the passenger compartment, or something. Finally, you’re thinking, I paid for it, you should use the whole of the 60 seconds. Don’t give any of the air back for free!

Anyway, my car is clean. And, for the moment, the exterior smells nice. I was going to vacuum the inside, but this place charges for that air, too, and I have vacuums I can use at home on some future nice day. And I will! I like a clean carpet.

When I got to the house a spontaneous bike ride occurred. Why not do 20 miles! It’s a lovely way to spend a few minutes.

I wasn’t intending to ride today, but riding is fun, plus it was a bonus after the 25-miler I had yesterday morning!

And these are the ways we fill our days.

Here are some sports shows that the IUSTV crew produced last night. All the local stuff from IU is in this highlight show.

And on the talk show they discussed the upcoming NFL draft.

By now, if you’ve been here every day over the last two weeks and change, you’ve seen 130 photos from our recent dive trip to Cozumel. (My next chore is building a proper photo gallery for them. Perhaps that’ll get done in the next day or so.) Maybe, perhaps, you missed the larger videos. I’ve got you covered. Day-by-day, the best footage from 13 dives on the beautiful reefs of the Caribbean Sea. Check these out.

This is our second day, when we got in five days. Four of them are represented here.

And this video was shot on a Thursday, not that the day of the week matters to the fish in the sea, or the turtle, which appears right at the beginning of this dive experience.

And everything you haven’t seen so far, you’ll see in this great video.

Now, about that photo gallery …

Apr 22

A totally professional day

I edited a podcast today, and spent time in two different television studios for three different shows. At the end of the day I set up a Disney movie for students. In between, I watched these shows. And, now, you can too!

This is the news show from last night I mentioned. The interview with the new provost is there. It’s an interesting moment to have the provost in-studio.

They talked a lot about bike racing on What’s Up Weekly, because the Little 500 races are coming up next week. Very exciting stuff for campus.

I gotta tell ya, IU Fanshop, now in just its third episode, is growing on me. It’s a show about fans, and as they start to really lean into this, they’re going to find some great stuff going forward. This is fun.

You know what else is fun, photos of people at varying depths below sea level!

Yes, we’re wrapping up the photos today. But I’ll round out the week with more diving stuff, somehow. (We’ve already planned our next two trips, and I’m only a bit sad that neither of them involve diving. Yet.)

Anyway, on to the photos!

Gymnasts, man.

Sometimes I float to one side, sometimes I float behind people. Occasionally I float above them.

That is, of course and without fail, the moment they decide to look for you.

Everything is a-OK on the bottom of the sea.

And sometimes people float above you, too.

Selfie time at a safety stop.

This is probably another safety stop, a designed part of the dive, during the ascent, where you’re allowing your body the opportunity to expand a bit more of the nitrogen that builds up under pressure. This is a planned and good feature. And, clearly, carefully done.

I wonder what she’s looking at here.

Best fish in the sea!

And, also, me.

Yes, I all but blinked during my own selfie. I was on vacation.

Apr 22

For a Tuesday, this is pretty good

I met the new provost this evening. He came into the studio for an interview with one of our news shows. I got to chat with him for about 90 seconds, but he, and the publicity detachment that came with him, was far more interested in the students, as he should be. And given some of the ongoing campus events, what could have been an easy and straightforward getting-to-know-you interview took on some real local heft.

And they got to call it an exclusive. It was a nice interview, we only missed one question, and it speaks to the news division’s growth and ambitions.

We have about two weeks left in this production cycle, and three or so weeks left in the semester, so it is time to start peeking ahead for them. Next year we’ll be in a unique position. All of this year’s leadership will return next year. This year’s youth will be the next two years savvy, veteran leadership. We will now start looking at ways to take advantage of that opportunity.

Also, today, I interviewed a sociologist who does brain science research. What a world, huh? He told me how I can keep my noodle sharp. That’ll be a podcast that should be online Thursday or so. Not to worry, I’ll let you know about it.

Let’s look at a few more pictures from our last vacation, the Spring Break 2020 (And this time we mean it!) dive trip to Cozumel.

Yes, I’ve gotten more than two weeks of videos of this trip, and 10 days, so far, of big batches of photos. And I’ve got one more day to go after this. So let’s get into this! Starting with this small school of bright yellow grunts (Haemulon flavolineatum) and gray angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus).

More grunts! And maybe a porgy. (I’m not very good with the silver fish.)

Isn’t it nice how the sunlight just works its way down 60-or-so feet and highlights their fins?

A queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris) just showing off all of those pretty colors.

This is the regal blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). Pretty big one, too. They can grow up to about 15 inches. It is kind of popular in aquariums, and as a bait fish.

Who likes random coral formations?

And, remember, always look in the vase coral … because you’ll sometimes find fused staghorn coral …

Oh, look who is up there, swimming with a sea turtle.

Here’s the rare shot where there wasn’t actually anything in view. But the colors are lovely, aren’t they?

And, now, the saddest photo a diver can take. Zero feet, still air in the tank.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this amazing series of photos from this wonderful dive experience with some lovely people pictures. Make sure you’re ready for that.