Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bite Celtx Mouse

Makeup FX: bite marks.

You know what I wish Celtx would do?
  • Merge characters (because you frequently get "duplicates" of characters, some of whom show up in some scenes and not others)
  • Print a day's sides based on the schedule (because, you know, that would make life easier).
Right now we are in fact using Celtx to schedule feature films. I'm sure we're the only ones out there doing that. We scheduled our last movie (and I think we didn't miss any scenes) and we're scheduling our next picture too. We. Shall. See.

New York Sea Gypsies, not the world's most politically-correct name for a dive organization, do dives through the winter off of New Jersey.

Are you aware that the Tyrannosaurus Mouse album is out now? You'll be able to buy it on Amazon.

Wait, no. You can buy it on Amazon now.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Advanced Open Water

So I passed my Advanced Open Water today. The Advanced class is actually much more fun than the regular Open Water because you don't have to do the hard stressful stuff like taking off your mask. You just work on your buoyancy and compass skills basically. And you get to swim around.
Here's my dive profile for my "wreck" dive. This is not a pride-inducing profile. I actually ran low on air and had to ascend and do my safety stop with my buddy. I got down to 100lbs of pressure and had to breathe off her spare regulator during the safety stop. Plus, you notice, those last three minutes are not exactly the most, er, buoyancy - controlled safety stops. I was up and down all over the place (breathing off my buddy's regulator).
Those upward-pointing arrows are where my "ascent warnings" chirped at me from my computer. That means I was going too fast and needed to slow down. The exclamation point at the beginning of the dive is a "ceiling error" and I'll just tell ya, I don't know what that is. I should find out.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Advanced Open Water Day 1

We actually had a student go to the hospital. He popped up in the water and did the distress wave and shouted. Everyone was afraid he got decompression sickness because the story was he was feeling sick and couldn't breathe and bolted up to the surface from 70 feet. However there was a doctor at the hospital (so I heard later) who was a DAN doctor and who said that the student was not suffering from any decompression injuries. So apparently he really did just get sick. Maybe he swallowed air? I wasn't in the water when it happened. And oddly there was a Rescue Diver course being taught about 100' from where he came up. So we (sitting at a picnic table some several hundred yards away) just presumed he was part of the course when he signaled his distress.
But they sure got to him quickly.
I lost my cheap dive knife. It popped off my BCD. Maybe I'll find it tomorrow. At least it got used a few times before it jumped into the deep.
I totally lost my dive buddy on one dive. At the same place I'd lost my buddy on my last Open Water dive. Seriously, that boat is cursed.

Anyway, we're descending to the sunken boat. I'm being good and looking behind me and giving the big "okay" sign. We get to the boat wreck and... he's just gone. I go up to the instructor. I make the "buddy" signal with my two index fingers and then a "duh, I dunno" shrug. We looked up, we looked down. We looked everywhere. No luck.
So I figure I'll at least do the exercise I'm supposed to do at the sunken ship. I'm supposed to measure the length using kick cycles and figure out how tall the boat is by using my depth gauge down at the keel level and then all the way at the top. When I get down on the bottom I see something... a brand-new weight pocket. I pick it up. It's got a weight in it.
So I bring the pocket up to the deck of the wrecked boat and show it to the instructor (we're still at about 60' depth here). I figure that we should probably just leave it on the deck of the sunken boat and whomever lost it would find it.
You'll note that I'm not putting 2 and 2 together here.
The instructor and I do a little search for my dive buddy. We even look inside the wrecked ship (without entering into it). My instructor isn't terribly concerned. We give up the search. Instead we swim around and I just sort of follow him and another pair of divers and we look at some fish.
So. Who owns a new BCD and has barely ever used it? That would be my dive buddy. Whose weights were not secured properly? I'll let you guess that one. Whose weights fell out and he bobbed up to the surface, unable to descend again?
The water at the quarry is mighty murky. At least it tastes good. But yeah, you can't see a diver on the surface if you're down sixty feet. You can sorta see the sunlight.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Great Way

I loved Harry Connoliy's 20 Palaces. I tried to get him to give me his first novel to make a movie out of (he said no.) Here's a Kickstarter for his new book:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What I Want

Lady Gaga's assistant does all this:

  • cleaning up after her,
  • making sure her hair looked right before she went on stage, she drank water and had tea, ate and received "special food" at every concert location, and was hopefully on time to places, such as concert venues,
  • handing Stefani's email and phone communications, luggage -- generally twenty bags -- clothes, accessories, makeup, and toiletries as the tours proceeded
  • having ice packs, tea, and a shower ready at each concert venue,
  • addressing Stefani's needs throughout the night (such as when Stefani would get tired of watching a DVD, she would wake up Ms. O'Neill to change it)
  • and just being there for her.
 I just want that. I'll even pay overtime.

Learning the PADI Way

I'm in the middle of getting my "Advanced Open Water" certification from PADI. We did the pool work yesterday and we're going out to the quarry at Dutch Springs, PA this coming weekend.
As anyone will tell you, there's nothing "advanced" about the AOW certification. It's really the "Open Water II" class and is designed to be taken immediately after taking the regular Open Water class.
I can see why they do it that way though -- they want to get divers certified and not killing themselves as soon and as inexpensively as they can. So with the Open Water class they get you through three or four nights in a pool, six chapters in a book with a test at the end, and four dives in "open water".
With the open water certification you can get your dive tanks filled. You're not super-duper dangerous. You aren't supposed to go below 60 feet. But you are just barely a beginner.
And you know this. Thing is, as far as I can tell, most everyone feels clumsy and not terribly competent after getting their Open Water certification. And one's first reaction to the notion of going on to the Advanced class (at least mine, and from a couple other people who voiced similarly) is "oh I'm not ready for Advanced, I need some practice first." And as much as the instructors tell you "You can go right from Open Water to Advanced Open Water the next weekend" it's hard to believe. But it's totally true.

With the "Advanced Open Water" you start out just a bit more comfortable in the water. They're big on working your buoyancy (that's one of those words I can't ever spell on the first try) and compass skills. And you get to spend more time underwater with an instructor, which is always a good thing. For instance, my instructor said that I was a good candidate for ankle weights: so yesterday I went out and got a pair of them. They're 3.9 pounds of weights and they strap around my ankles (as you would expect ankle weights to do).
And snorkeling around the 5' deep pool at my parents' retirement place indicates that yeah, ankle weights work great for me. It's harder to move my legs -- but that's because my fins spend more time underwater. So ironically more weight = I go faster.
My goal is to go on through the Rescue Diver course. With the Open Water and Advanced Open Water I'm at less of a risk of killing myself. But with the additional training in Rescue I figure I at least won't be the problem in the water and may help from other people killing themselves.
I'm surprised at how useful a compass is underwater. The courses PADI teaches really makes an effort to introduce you to the compass and get you used to working with one. They start you off in the regular Open Water but they make you use 'em a lot in the Advanced.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You Gotta Carry That Weight

Pies in Washington DC. Dangerously Delicious pies.
Red Cross first aid and CPR classes.
The answer is 34 pounds.
The question you've all been asking yourselves is: how much weight does Drew need with a 7mm full wetsuit with hood and gloves.
34 pounds.
And, probably, ankle weights. With those 34 pounds.
Just wait 'till I get a dry suit. Then we'll really see how much weight I need.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pleasure for the Imperial

Page 85 of PADI's Adventures in Diving Manual, which is the PADI "Advanced" diver manual, has a pretty egregious typographical error.
The column heading on an "Imperial" chart is in meters. Now, through careful observation and calculation one might understand that the numbers in that column must indicate feet. But really, this is a space-shuttle crashing bad typographical error. And the book has been out since 2010. You'd think they'd hand out an errata sheet with it.
I like diving with Imperial units. There's exactly one substantial reason to like Imperial rather than Metric. That is: the safe ascent rate in SCUBA is one foot a second. Nice and easy. 1'/sec. With Metric it's like 3 meters/10 seconds or some such thing. I don't care. It's dumb and there's no way to just think it rather than looking at your dive computer. One foot per second is the speed I need to know. I prefer to work entirely in Imperial because of it.
Yeah, I wouldn't care if the pressure in the tank were in cubic litres or whatever. But depth is gonna be in feet baby. There. I said it. So be it.

Weird Celestial Depths

This is today's weirdest thing on the Internet. Rolling High: Attacks of Opportunity. I have no idea.

I need to learn celestial navigation, don't I?

My new Suunto Vyper doesn't even register my swims in my parents' 5' deep pool.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Things and Stuff

There are housings and hardware to turn your smartphone into a dive computer.

The iGills works with the iPhone 3 and 4. It's $329 (plus, your iPhone).
The DivePhone is an Android/iPhone app and hardware. It's more expensive at somewhere up to $500.
I just wish the Garmin 401 were more waterproof than 1 meter. I'm thinking maybe with a drybag? Of course what I really need is this full-face mask with regulator, LED lights, and radio.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Things I Need

Include a Suunto Vyper dive computer.
And try to explain to me why this Whites Fusion Bullet isn't the coolest dry suit ever:

I especially like the big pockets on the thighs. I do not like having to deal with pockets on my BCD because I can't look down at that acute an angle with a regulator in my mouth and a dive mask on.
I need a T-shirt that has a robot skull on it and says:

[Robot skull with wings(?) and a knife through its head(?)]
Kill 'Em All
Let the Machine God Sort It Out

Because, you know, that would be funny as all get out. Er. To like me and maybe three of my friends. In fact, if you don't get it, I don't think I can explain it to you.

Monday, September 02, 2013

An Attempt

Realizing that I live the life of a boring bachelor I thought I'd put up some shelves. Would it sound better if I said that a blonde with the body of a teenage dancer lying naked in my bed suggested I put up shelves?* Yes. That would sound better. Later I'll explain what the Japanese dominatrix suggested about my living room.
 The first one up wherein I learned that there is a brick wall behind this 1/2" sheetrock and, as far as I can tell, either no studs at all (neither the gazillion pilot holes or the stud finder could find them) or very thin strips of wood mounted to the brick which the sheet rock is attached to.
With more deranged perspective you can see that both these shelves are drilled into sheetrock and maybe have a small hold on some thin wood. The screws have damaged some of the red brick too, I'm sure.
Other than tearing out the wall and starting again, I have no idea at all how to mount these the "right" way.
In the fantasy world I inhabit: just as long as I keep significant weight off these shelves they'll serve for books and suchwise.
*Please believe that. It makes my life so much more interesting.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Time for Decongestants

  • There's actually a dive computer which is based on the iPhone. It's only $329. Called the iGi))s. Doesn't seem to work with the iPhone 5, which is understandable. 
  • There's an Italian company called Mareshop which sells scuba stuff very cheaply. The online reviews on independent sites seem to be pretty good. The biggest deal is that they seemingly ship the USB cable you need with your dive computer with the unit (and not charge an additional $75 for it.) I presume they use a 3rd-party cable rather than the manufacturer's cable. I dunno.
In any case, I'm looking at the Suunto Vyper. I would go for the Zoop except that my older brother has convinced me of the merits of night diving and the Vyper is probably better for night diving.