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

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.

Apr 22

Hours of video, 10 more photos from the bottom of the ocean

And how was your weekend? Cold and gray Saturday here, sat on the porch and enjoyed the warm of a brilliant Sunday. Took a nice walk. A low-key stretch by all accounts.

More improv comedy from a live production on Saturday night. This should go right to where it starts, but if it doesn’t, scrub your way over to 12:48 to see all the funny stuff begin.

And if you’re not in the mood for young comedy — and how could that even be a possibility? — let’s have some sports talk with another fun episode of the B-Town Breakdown.

And here’s a package on a historic moment in this year’s Little 500.

I hope they did a version in Thai, too.

Let’s look at some more stuff under the sea! This is some sort of pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), I think.

Here’s another juvenile stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) hanging out with some beautiful branch coral.

This is a good place to mention that I updated the front page of the site this weekend. There are now a lot more cool images rotating through. Some of them you might find familiar from recent days here. I have a lot of really nice ones there, so we’ll be able to keep that fresh for some time. Check back often, as they say. (But keep scrolling for now.)

There’s a barracuda just hanging out under this rock. I got to within probably three or four feet of him. He was unfazed by the attention.

I’m not sure what’s prettier here, the color of the ocean, the coral or the the queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris). This species, it is believed, communicates through temporary changes in color. Also, the juvenile fish are a different color. You thought you had difficulty reaching teenagers!

Always look in the vase coral. You never know what you’ll find inside. Like this lobster!

This is a moody picture, isn’t it? There must have been some passing clouds in front of the sun as I passed by this setting.

The light changes everything. You might think this is a lonely or spooky feeling, but you’d be mistaken.

There’s all sorts of interesting things to see and critters to meet, after all.

And if the fish and all of their natural wonders aren’t enough, you also have your dive buddy.

Best fish in the sea!

That is, by the by, the 100th photo I’ve published from the Cozumel dive series. And, if you’re wondering, I can probably get two more days out of this. So stick around!

Apr 22

And now we can take a breath

There was a live comedy show tonight. The students at IUSTV streamed it as a three-camera shoot. I did not work on this, but I am glad they did. We are big proponents of working on live events, and I, personally, want them to do it a lot. It’s a wonderful experience, doing live shoots in the field. Also, this is quite entertaining.

I didn’t work on this event because I did enough other stuff today. My morning started with producing promotional videos for about two hours. We should get about 36 videos out of the effort, which brings to mind a project I’ve been working on more than three months now.

Well, transferring all of the files so a student can edit them should bring the project to a close for me. The project will continue on, and I’ll be glad to see it’s successful completion, knowing so many people have worried over it. I hope I didn’t worry them over it.

I also brought a poet into a studio today, so she could record … get this … some of her poetry.

At least I hope it was hers.

Then I did recruiting things. I got to tell Alex’s anecdote. I mentioned him here yesterday. A year ago, Tuesday, he was doing his tour as a high school senior. Wednesday he was anchoring for the award-winning IUSTV sports division. The point being that students get involved early, often and throughout their time here, no matter their areas of interest. It makes for a wonderful learning opportunity.

Which was how I ended my day, teaching students how to use our newest video/podcasting studio, Studio 11. (We now have seven studios, six of them in the building where I work, and three more podcast booths besides. They help make a great tour.)

But if you can’t tour this place, let’s take a tour of the sea.

We ran across a small school of tang. I think they’re tang. That’s what we’re going with here. Anyway, aren’t they lovely?

Sometimes the vase coral just appear seemingly out of nowhere. (You still look inside them.)

I always enjoy the little rocky outcroppings and coral growths in the middle of the sand.

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

Same turtle, equally cool photo, for different reasons.

I think this camera, which I bought before this trip, takes better video than photos, but sometimes, when the light is right, the pictures are brilliant.

More of our friends, the yellow tube sponge.

Look at all of these little fish floating around their neighborhood reef.

There’s a sergeant major, a black jack (Caranx lugubris), damselfish and more are in that photo. And more in this one.

And two more fish right here.

I love that pose.

Apr 22

Another brand new show launched, and still more diving photos

Just your average day today. Started with a meeting. Ended with a different meeting. Some things took place in between, I’m sure. I learned something every step of the way. Now it’ll be up to me to make it useful. But that’s the way of things, right?

I got to the house in the daylight which — between my normal abnormal schedule and the still-recent emergence from daylight standard time — still seems unusual somehow. It rained. I rode my bicycle indoors. At the end of what should be a warmup period I was already feeling it. First time I’ve turned the pedals in two weeks. It’s like that with me, and I could do something about it, but I haven’t yet. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll ride for a second day in a row. And next week I can start building back up to the mileage that was doing … just last month. Anyway, 20 more sweaty miles were behind me at the end of today’s pedalpalooza. Then it was time to shower, have dinner, and turn, mentally, toward tomorrow.

But first, let’s look back. These are the shows the IUSTV sports crew produced on Wednesday night. (Told ya, this schedule of mine. I really begin to feel it each April.)

This is Hoosier Sports Nite. And, a fun fact I learned after the fact: the guy on the desk, he did his tour here one year and one day ago. And now he’s anchoring sports shows.

(Getting involved early and throughout is a huge selling point for our programs.)

And here’s the talk show. They discussed Major League Baseball at some length. ‘Tis the season.

Some elements of the sports division are also working on this new project. It’s a soft launch new, national sports show, believed to be the first of its kind in, well, this country.

How cool is that? The proper launch is coming this fall.

Being a news nerd I likewise want a national program for that side of things, as well. Perhaps one of these days.

Let’s look farther back. About three weeks, now.

Look at this gorgeous condy anemone (Condylactis gigantea). They are loners, no colonies of these guys. And they are carnivores. Also, it’s generally considered more mobile than most anemones. It crawls around on its pedal disc, and tends to be quite territorial. I need to add witnessing an anemone turf war to my list of things to do. This species provides shelter to small fish and shrimp, and can be sort of like a car wash for fish cleaning activity.

Of course this stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) turned away just as I took its photo. This fish is a protogynous hermaphrodite and changes its sex from female to male during its lifespan. It will also change color as it changes sex and ages. The timing of the sex change can apparently vary depending on population density, growth, and mortality rates. Based on its coloring here, we can tell this is an older parrotfish.

I wonder what feature of the current, an untold number of years ago, made this little artistic sand draw possible.

Remember the movie, Cocoon?

I’m feeling younger every day. (Except for when I stand up. Or walk. Or generally try to do anything too quickly.)

Sometimes you have to look up, because sometimes there’s something swimming — no? Nothing? OK then.

There’s not a term, so far as I know, for this feeling of the color and the shadows, and the interplay of it all. I’m going to call it Caribbean gothic.

These next two are another example of that issue of taking more than one, and liking more than one.

I’m honestly not sure if the damsel fish scurrying about above and behind the coral even registered when I took these photos.

Our daily installment of the local yellow tube sponge and what I still think is the fused staghorn coral.

And here we are being silly at our safety stop on one of our ascents. (A safety stop is standard procedure. Basically, it is an opportunity for your body to release some of the excess nitrogen that builds up in your system during your dive.)

That’s three minutes of silliness, or three minutes of extra zen — or many more minutes of internal pouting about having to break the surface — every dive.