Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We're on our own here

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 16:28

It's pretty clear this means that he's already come back, and that happened quite some time ago. We're all on our own from now on. 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Further Jessica Jones Thoughts

See, the reason Jessica Jones irked me so much is that it was so close to being great. And instead did the opposite of being great.
I mean basically Krystin Ritter could read the phone book and I'd pay admission to see it. And David Tennant is just fantastic. But. But oof.

You know, you read enough versions of enough screenplays and you start to see recognizable echoes of earlier drafts. Oh. And spoilers ahead. Did I mention spoilers?

I bet there was an earlier draft of the Jessica Jones series where the vaccine the Purple Man's father was making worked. Because I kept expecting that to go somewhere. Like the scene where he tried to get his own dad to blender his own (the dad's) hand. Like that was a make-or-break moment where the dad had to commit to pretending to be under his son's control. And that the amplifying thing the dad was working on wasn't going to work.

Because otherwise, what was the whole antidote thing about? It never went anywhere. Dramatically that's pretty sloppy.

Dramatically it was a nice turn where we find that Kilgrave was abused as a child. But then that sort of went to pot as it turns out it wasn't true and blah-blah-blah. But what would have been vastly more interesting is if Kilgrave's whole persona, his whole being, was that there was someone worse than him. Someone who could control Kilgrave. Someone who made this tender and abused little boy into a monster. So that while he was cruelly controlling and sadistically toying with other people it was all because someone else was forcing him to do it.

Now that would have been an interesting turn. Then the huge irony is that indeed Jessica Jones would have to team up with Kilgrave to defeat the bigger monster.

You know what TV show did that well? Blade. Yup, Blade the series. That show was terrifically well written. The villain goes from being a guy you can't wait to see die to someone who's actually sympathetic. And then you want to straight-up murder a little girl (and, you know since this is spoilery to start with I may as well point out that Blade does not hesitate when the time comes to take her out). The girl is evil evil evil and dangerous (and, you know, not actually a little girl). And Blade doesn't not do things just because it would be the end of the series. No, they waive putting the two in a room together until the last episode. As it should be.

These are the sorts of things that keep me up at night. 

Scamming Landlords

Look. A couple ads for spaces at 356 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Jody Susler and Ben Schneeberg seem to have lost yet another tenant in the last 15 days. Or they're just publishing pictures of offices randomly to bait-and-switch prospective tenants.

Here's one.
And another.

They're trying to backcharge me for things. Obviously we left the office spotless (see pictures in post below). But they won't answer my emails.

Somebody really should flag their ads because ultimately they're just scammers. Just click the "prohibited" box at the top of the page.

This owl is about how I feel.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

356 Broadway Landlords

Wow, so my former commercial landlords are a real couple of scumbags. Jody Susler and Ben Schneeberg of 356 Spaces, LLC, are trying to really juice me for the deposit.

I got an email at 5pm today demanding that I return the keys, the repeater, and pick up the furniture they say we left there by end of business day tomorrow or they'll bill me for a new repeater, furniture disposal, and new locks.

They don't really tell me where I would return them to because they, of course, have no office. But rather than doing anything reasonably they prefer to do everything in a way that causes the most discontent. They like that.

Here's today's insane email:

Final Notice: Repeater / keys / furniture

Andrew,

If you do not remove your furniture and return our repeater and keys by the close of business hours tomorrow (12/16) we will have the furniture disposed of; purchase a new repeater; and replace the locks at your expense.

356 Spaces, LLC


Monday, December 14, 2015

And 3

So they've re-plastic'ed thusly:


Whew.
These were pictures sent by my landlord.

No, I do not know what's up with that broom.

Ugh 2

I visited my apartment today. This is my bathroom.
Here is where my shower once was.

In yonder days I had a flushable toilet here, children.

This be where the sink once set upon a counter.

This is the ceiling above my tub and shower.
Ah. Remember indoor plumbing? It is but a distant memory to me.


Ugh 1

So I visited my apartment today.

For some reason they'd taken down all the plastic they'd put up and now everything is a terrifyingly filthy mess.

Ugh.

It's hard to see but there is construction dust EVERYWHERE.

Ugh.

Yelling At Comic Books

I am angry at Jessica Jones.

[Marsian Queen]: I apologize on behalf of a show I've never seen.
Thank you. I feel better about that.
Actually, the same thing irked me about Batman.
"Here's your opportunity to kill the very very bad guy. But just stand there and talk to him instead."
 
[Marsian Queen]: The opposite of the James Bond problem?
Ha! Yes.
Except that the good guy just... refuses for some odd reason to kill the bad guy.
Or you'll have a character who doesn't believe the bad guy can control minds, but breaks him out of prison to help get her spouse to sign divorce papers because he can control minds... and doesn't see how that might go wrong for her.

So the last thing he orders the spouse to do is to slash the lawyer with a thousand cuts and while she's doing that the lawyer's lover shows up and kills the spouse. Yet somehow the law has it that the lover is being charged with murder for that. Because. Squirrels.

And the whole reason for not killing him is to prove that some girl who he made kill her parents -- is not guilty of killing her own parents. But in the course of tracking him down there are dozens of other witnesses that he can do that -- including a police officer.
Then there are about 30 police officers who get the same treatment. They are all unimpeachable witnesses. (There is some lame-o explanation later that they'd be suspended from the force if they told anybody about it.)
But no -- the plan is to have ONE cop (who's getting close to retirement) watch while the bad guy makes his own mom kill herself. Which isn't proof because all the cop sees is the bad guy telling his mom to stab herself and she does. How would he know mind-control was at work here? When this same cop had already seen 30 of his fellow cops put their own guns to their heads at this guy's command.
[Marsian Queen]: I recommend sedatives and restraints. Perhaps a nice cat to pet.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Demolition

So my bathroom is being demolished. Yet. Again. Seriously, this is the third or fourth time. Here are pictures my landlord sent of what they've been doing to protect my apartment. I'm in hiding. I'm not coming out until Winter is over. ;-)





Sunday, December 06, 2015

Dry

The Beuchat Baltik is an awfully inexpensive drysuit.

The only reviews are sort of wishy-washy. The legs are thin and the torso seems a bit short. Legs being tight actually have an advantage in that ostensibly air is kept out of the legs.
But for less than $700 it's pretty cool. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

End of an Era

So, the buttmunch landlords at 365 Broadway, Ben and Jody, are of course balking at giving us our deposit back.





Luckily I was smart enough to not pay the last month's rent.
Right now they're pretending that we left a desk there, and that I have a cell phone repeater of theirs. Which, I mean, why would it be in my office where I'm paying the electric?
Sigh. The amount of money just isn't worth it. It would be really nice to have non-psychotic landlords one day.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Demon Hunter

I saw the most amazing reading last Wednesday of Nat Cassidy's The Demon Hunter.

 It was genius. It's a very "small" play -- just two locations and it uses the conceit of a psychiatrists' office. Which in Nat's hands is... brilliant.

The play is freaking terrifying. The reveals happen in a very tight and beautiful story. I mean, it's amazing. And in a reading it was terrifying. Nat built a narrative which expands into a story about the whole of history but, you know, with only four characters.
This is why Nat Cassidy makes the big big bucks.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Avery Cates

There shall come a time in the future when we as a species will realize what a brilliant and seminal and near-perfect a work as Jeff Somers' Avery Cates series is.
The thing is freaking genius. And dark.

It's sci-fi noir with like 75% noir. It's cyberpunk without the embarrassing dating stuff. It's a tough-guy first person narrator who is so self-effacing that the unreliability of him as a narrator occurs even to him.
Physical and mental modifications, that break down. Androids with the consciousness of other people. Computer viruses which kill you and zombify you via freaking nanobots. The end of the world. The end of the end of the world. The end the end the end of the end of the world.

Should these books be made into a movie? No. They should be a 6-season series. Maybe 7 seasons.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Someone's Things For Today

I love Language: A Feminist Blog. Here she discusses the differences between gay and lesbian lexicons and the problems with trying to figure out what they are or even if you're asking the right questions.
New Jersey in the Paleolithic.

Filmconvert. I'm not 100% sold on it. Ian Hubert likes it though.

I feel that this article on VOD will be used to delude a lot of filmmakers into thinking there's money in VOD. 

I should probably just go ahead and get another of these hard drives. They're fast enough to edit on and they're portable.
Yeah yeah, I know. You have to run a backup because they're twice as likely to fail (in theory). UPDATE: huh. Blogger refuses to put in this link apparently.

Friday, November 13, 2015

All the stuff from today

Camtasia Studio is three hundred bucks. If I want to do any computer tutorials I really need to have it. But for three hundred dollars it's gonna have to wait a while.

Polari is the lost language of gay men. "Language" might be a bit of a stretch but I totally want to get this book.

You can dive a missile silo. What part of that isn't awesome?

You know you want to go to stunt driving school.

Filmspecific and Startupfilmmaker. I don't have anything to say about them. My feeling is "meh". Other than that I dunno.

I've been reading RescueDiver.org.

QOTD "No buyer cares how cheaply you made a movie for." This was said in the form of a threat. So no more tips about ultra-low-budget filmmaking. ;-)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Grass Growing in Slow Motion

Ian Hubert. Genius.

Here's his feature length motion picture entitled Grass Growing in Slow Motion.


It is impossible to overstate how utterly brilliant this is.

356 Broadway Update

The office down the hall from ours is being rented out. 

Remember kids, don't trust 356 Broadway further than you can throw them!

Huh. This office is more expensive than ours is.

§§§

 

$600 / 125ft2 - PRIVATE OFFICE (TriBeCa)

image 1image 2
© craigslist - Map data © OpenStreetMap
125ft2
Clean, quiet, private space with locking door and private mailbox.

Great for Entrepreneurs, professional and creative enterprises:
Computer based arts. Video editing. Fashion Design. Architecture.

No cubicles. No shared desks.

WiFi available.
Shared Conference room.
Heat and A/C included.

Located 1 flight down from Broadway.
No Windows.

In Tribeca, near Soho, Chinatown, Government center.
Located close to all subways.


Deposit & references required.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

How to Fin

As the worst scuba diver (non-dangerous division), I have a lot of skills I need to work on. Buoyancy, trim, and finning among them. (Note that we never call them "flippers", always "fins".
Because we have to take the fun out of everything.)


Nobody ever tells a penguin they have lousy trim in the water. Then again they don't do a lot of cave diving. Night and ice diving, sure. But they're all like James Bond in that they show up in evening wear just as they come out of the water.

Finning techniques:



I got those links from the pretty cool /r/scuba Reddit.

The Further Adventures of 356 Broadway

So apparently one of our landlords, Ben Schneeberg, came into the office today and talked to my partner. First, Ben saw that I'd put the letter up on the door. He said something to the effect of "Oh, so Andrew's advertising." Then he took the letter down saying "This is silly" and left it on my desk.

I'm not sure if he means that them sending us the letter is silly, or if he means me thinking everyone with offices should read it is silly. Either way, I put it back up.

Then, apparently, he told my partner that we didn't have to leave after all. No no no. We "just have to keep the door closed".

Oh, right. So the whole "We are no longer allowing offices to be shared" was just a what, bargaining point? So the entire substance of the termination of our lease at 356 Broadway was, as it turns out, not important at all. 

But that's not the most ridiculous part. The most ridiculous part is the reason the landlord doesn't like us having our door open. So if we keep our door closed, we can stay.

As a rational human being you might wonder to yourself: "Why would you need to keep your door closed? Are other tenants complaining about you? Are you doing immoral things there? What's going on?"

Oh. Oh no. The reason is so much more awesome than that. What is their new reason for wanting us to keep our door closed? Oh you'll just love it. 

Are you ready?

"It intimidates prospective tenants."

It is honestly beyond my abilities to parse what that could possibly mean. Especially considering that there are more tenants in the space now than when we'd first arrived. 

I suspect that the real problem that Ben and Jody have with us is that Brian down the hall has moved and they like to have someone they can needle. So the new person to needle is us. 

Why landlords have to be so psychotic is beyond me.  Everybody told me when I moved in that the landlords lie all the time. I figured they can't be worse than my last landlord. No, but they're ultimately just about as bad, what with the attempts to intimidate us just for fun only to back off when we call their bluffs. 

356 Broadway, 'twas nice while it lasted.  

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Further thoughts on landlord insanity

I am convinced the entire problem leading up to our order to vacate the premises at 356 Broadway was that we didn't make a stink when they did the carpet.
Everybody else fought with them. We didn't. Let me explain.
This is what happened. We tenants got this email the afternoon of Thursday the 24th of September about the offices being closed the next day.
From: imail <imail@snowmountain.net>
Date: Thu, Sep 24, 2015 at 12:50 PM
Subject: OFFICES CLOSING EARLY FRIDAY : NO ACCESS

356 Office Tenants,

Please take notice:
The offices will be closing early tomorrow, Friday, September 25 for professional rug shampooing.
There will be NO ACCESS beginning at 3:30.

The OFFICES will be CLOSED and INACCESSIBLE from 3:30 pm tomorrow until Saturday.

If you can avoid being there at all this weekend, that would be the better scenario 
as it would allow the rug more time to dry properly and without footprints.

We apologize for the late notice.  This is the only time the cleaners are able to schedule us.  We are all sure to appreciate the results.

Best regards,
 - Ben & Jody
Now, there's a law office and professional photographer and a whole bunch of companies that have, you know, deadlines to meet. And so this ridiculous thing made for at least one screaming match between a tenant and the landlord because he had clients coming in on Friday. But the Mad Duke and I decided that wasn't a hill worth dying on so we just made plans to be out of the office for the next day.

So there were many arguments with many tenants. Just not us. And that becomes important the following week: because when I came in on Monday, Ben Schneeberg came into my office and was really aggressive about how the problems with the Internet were my fault. (The Internet there has always been fairly bad, and FiOS isn't available on that block. Most of the tenants have their own service but there's a few of us who share.)
I pointed out that my one computer wasn't even on, and my other computer wasn't connected to his network. That did not amuse him. I even brought up the network properties on my computer to show how little bandwidth we were taking up.
And while he was doing this I realized: oh, he just wants to get into a fight.
It took a while for him to back off. And I realized that he just had a weekend where fought with everyone else, but he didn't get a chance to fight with me
§
Hanlon's Razor suggests that my landlords aren't just trying to pressure us into renting two offices, but rather just that they're dumb. But Heinlein suggests we shouldn't rule out actual malice.

I'm still not sure what Maduka and I are going to do. Finding a consistently sane and stable landlord is, as it turns out, difficult to do.There are options out there. We'll see. In the meantime I have three movies I need to finish.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

356 Broadway

November 3, 2015

So my landlord comes into my office with a smirk on her face and says "What? You don't have a response to the email we sent?"

Like what she wanted was some kind of response, some sort of emotion out of a notice requiring us to vacate the premises.

I said "Yeah, I had a response."

In fact, the entirety of my response had been in an email which I sent back to her within minutes of her sending the lease termination was as follows: "Wow. This is... sudden. I hadn't realized this was a problem. Perhaps someone should have said something before it became a "lease termination" issue."

But my big concern is getting our security deposit back. My thinking is thus: if they're willing to invoke the nuclear option of terminating the lease and surrendering the property by the end of the month, they're probably thinking they can just hold onto the security deposit for either good or bad reasons.

I'm so pissed off that I have to put pictures of squirrels here to get my calm.
I told her I was appalled at how she tried to get me to help her find someone to fill one of the other offices within five hours of sending me the lease termination. She muttered something about how she hadn't realized that Ben needed to send out that termination on that day.

She then tried to tell me that I should have known this was coming. I said that other than the conversation we had on Friday about sound, there had been no notice about anything. She was snide and patronizing "Well that's clearly the way you choose to remember it." So I (of course) said
Me: "When? When did it happen?"
Her: "Oh, many times."
Me: "Specifically, when?"
Her: "Well, I don't know, maybe Ben has something in his calendar."
Me: "The reason you cannot list a specific time is because it did not happen."
Her: "Well, that's just the way you choose to feel about it."

She tried to convince me that the notice was not the nuclear-level of hostility I was interpreting it as. She asked me "Have you read the letter?"
I said "Yes, I've read the letter." (Like seriously, do you think that of all my faults and foibles, reading comprehension is one of them?)
So she starts reading from the letter but choosing more innocuous parts in the middle and I say "No no no, read the top. What does the top of the letter say?
Her: "Well, it says 'Notice of Lease Termination', but that's just legalese, that's all..."
Me: "What does the bottom of the letter say?"
Her: "Well that's just legalese..."

What it says is this:
You are required to surrender the premises to the Landlord upon expiration. Please return the premises to the same condition as you found it upon moving in. You are required to return all keys when vacating the premises.
Sincerely,

Jody Susler
356 Spaces, LLC

I told her she had to give me back my security deposit. She demurred that it would be given back after I vacate if it's all swept clean and there's no damage. Which is absurd because I probably have the cleanest office in the whole space and it certainly wasn't swept when I moved in

So I told her she had to pay me back my security deposit and I threw her out of my office.

ºº

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Uh. Okay. So that then. I guess we're moving.

Today one of the landlords of our studio stopped by and asked that we keep the door closed when we have a client. The Mad Duke has been editing a feature for the last couple months, so maybe someone wasn't happy with the sound? We'd asked around to make sure our neighbors were okay with what relatively little sound we do make. But who knows? Yet later, seemingly out of the blue, I get this email from the landlord:

NOTICE OF LEASE TERMINATION


Andrew Bellware
356 Broadway, LL10
New York, NY 10013

10/30/15

Dear Andrew,

This letter is notice to you that your month-to-month lease for Unit LL10 at 356 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 will expire on November 30, 2015 and will not be renewed.
We are no longer allowing offices to be shared.

We are offering to issue you a new lease on unit LL10 but only on the conditions that it is for you alone (with the occasional collaborator) and that you keep the door shut.

Henry is welcome to rent a separate office if he wishes, also on the conditions that it is for his own use only and that he keeps the door closed.  Furthermore, he would have to agree to use headphones for editing video even when he is working with a collaborator.

Please let us know ASAP your intention regarding initiating a new lease or surrendering the premises.

You are required to surrender the premises to the Landlord upon expiration. Please return the premises to the same condition as you found it upon moving in. You are required to return all keys when vacating the premises.
Sincerely,

Jody Susler
356 Spaces, LLC

Friday, October 23, 2015

Data Management Friday

If you have an SSD drive, like I do, it's likely to be small. So you're going to be wanting to get your "user" files off of it. That's relatively easy to do, you just have to right-click on each folder inside your username and then find the "location" tab and put the directory on another drive. Windows will ask you if you want to create the new directory and move all the files to it. You say yes and violins! It's done.





















But moving the "app data" directory is basically a no-go. Which is a pain in the tuchus when programs are going crazy putting junk in app data.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Eternal Prison

So I'm re-reading the Avery Cates series. I never re-read things. But the Avery Cates series is totally worth it.
I'm at The Eternal Prison. Man, for hard-boiled sci-fi noir, it sure gets into Absalom Absalom territory. There is a brilliant narrative change in the story which even when I knew was coming still blew me away.
Apparently what I think and what the tastemakers' think are polar opposites. But this series would make a great, dark, noir, TV-show. Each novel would be a 13-episode season.
Avery Cates is a great character because he's really far from being a superman. He's a journeyman hitman. But he's got a lot of rules he lives by and although he admittedly gets lucky he, as a character, has a great deal of what the kids nowadays call "agency". His decisions are the turning-points in the story.
Yeah, I'm gushing. And yes, I've made feature films stealing or borrowing ideas from these books (I even named a character after the author, Jeff Somers). But there really is that much there, that much depth, and that much excitement on each page coupled with a graceful literateness which makes the noir all that much better.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oh, just stuff.

ScubaPro SeaWing Nova Gorilla fins. They're about two hundred bucks. The non-Gorilla versions are just a tad cheaper.

I'm selling my Mac Pro.





Friday, October 16, 2015

Rescue Diving Further Thoughts

You know, I ended up with a bruised rib from being hoisted on people's backs doing water exits. Oof. But it doesn't affect my breathing and the treatment is basically taking Ibuprofen. So I'm having an Ibuprofen party. All week.

Old timers will say that the PADI Rescue Diver course is too short -- it's two evenings of classroom (at about 2.5 hours each) which includes a video and a 50-question test that I missed two on (if you have more than a 10-minute swim to get a non-responsive diver out of the water then give 'im two rescue breaths and start towing immediately, don't bother with rescue breaths. Also, I confused two kinds of releases.) Then two days from about 9am to 3pm of drills and such in and around open water.
I'd agreed initially that it was too short. But from a rescue and lifelong learning and pedagogical standpoint I'm starting to change my mind.

Two pieces of data crossed my brain. And not in this order.

  • Just 50 feet away from us on Sunday were some EMT/firefighter types in red-and-orange drysuits doing drills and... they were doing exactly the same thing we were doing.
  • Further reading about courses for professionals and members of police/firefighter/emergency teams indicates that indeed, we have learned all the skills we pretty much need to know.
This indicates that the class itself was probably the right length.
Our instructor drilled into our heads that we need to practice these skills. I had the feeling he thought he was talking to brick walruses over it.
But it seems the whole dang point of the thing is that we're not going to learn much more. No, we need practice and we need that over a long period of time. 

If we use three criteria to consider what should be taught, they'd likely be:
  1. What keeps people from getting killed?
  2. What is hard to learn?
  3. What needs to be done immediately?

And 1 and 3 are basically to make contact with the panicked diver.
2 is probably rescue breathing while towing a non-responsive diver in the water.

1 and 3 are fairly easy to teach. Number 2 takes a lot of practice. But the thing is that practicing a day or two more in the rescue diving class isn't that likely to really help you do it in the long run. You have to practice it regularly. This is why it doesn't make any different to do a longer course. You have to come back and do the exercises regularly anyway. So you may as well make the class just four days.

Why bother to do two days open water? You can really only practice one kind of getting an unresponsive diver out of the water no matter where you go (at Dutch it was a shore rescue). At a pool you'd have to do a lifeguard exit. If you were doing the class on a boat you'd have to figure out something else.
The reason is that search and recovery need to be open water because you have to be able to have a body 30 feet down.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Scuba Scuff


My instructor, Don, who also did my check-out dives, sent us rescue divers a list of reading material and software recommendations.
Once you graduate rescue, the instructors are a lot more free with talking about diving accidents with you. I guess they figure that they're not going to scare you away from scuba diving so it's cool. From a safety standpoint, reading up on how accidents happen is really important. My dad used to read a magazine that I would call "Airplane Crash Magazine" (honestly I don't remember the name of the magazine). Learning from mistakes of others, always a good idea.

I realize my biggest problems as a dive buddy is that I take a long time to equalize, and I drink too much air.
Wearing those fancy SCUBA ear plugs helps. These are special plugs that have a hole in them to allow you to equalize. But I should probably add a special ear-covering mask. I actually have a Pro-Ear mask. I just haven't used it yet.
As far as air use goes, I don't know of any method other than aerobic exercise. Which I have to do anyway.
I also have to figure out a way to deal with heat. I hate heavy wetsuits. I'm sorta interested in this Thermulation heated shirt. I don't know. I do have a dry suit certification. Dry suits are counter-intuitively light in weight. I dunno.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rescue Diver

So. I qualified by graduating PADI's "Rescue Diver" course.

My thoughts about the two days in the water. I ache all over. The first day is physically very difficult. And I made some mistakes. Here are some things I learned.

On the first day we were mostly at the surface doing various drills and exercises. But there were some underwater things -- included pushing a panicked diver away from you, helping a passively panicked diver up to the surface (gently and, ahem, slowly, not the way I did it by blowing up his BCD and rocketing up -- okay okay, we were only about 5 feet so we were okay but that's not what you're supposed to do.) Ahem.
At the surface mostly what we dealt with was responding to another non-responsive diver on the surface. This is where the real workout happens. You splash at the diver (your dive buddy, playing dead). Put your regulator in. You get near them but far enough away they can't panic and crawl on top of you. Splashing and calling out to them all the while. Pass your hands in front of their eyes, always prepared to get away from them and go under water.
Cross your arms to grab theirs. Flip them over... 
Inflate their BCD, your BCD.
Remove their weights, your weights, their regulator, your regulator, their mask, your mask. (You have a 3rd buddy to just deal with that. On both days we had the dive master as our buddy which was very very smart of us.)
Get your ear near their mouth. Look down their body. Count for 10 seconds to see if they're breathing. If not:
Yell to someone to activate EMS and get O2.
Begin rescue breaths starting with two, and then one every 5 seconds while towing the diver to shore and removing their BCD and your own BCD. Then you get to exit the water with their inert body. Which is surprisingly easier than you'd think. (I got used for the "Even someone as big as Andrew can be carried out of the water by someone much smaller" example which was not an ego boost.)
Set the victim down. Begin CPR while someone is on phone with emergency services and someone else readies the O2.
Stayin' Alive for 30 pulses and then 2 breaths. Repeat until EMS gets there. Get a mask on them with O2 free flowing until they can breathe.

You have to drill that a number of times, with a pocket mask and doing mouth-to-mouth (By the time we got to playing with different lines and ways to throw assists into the water I was beat up. Heck, I hurt today and that was two days ago.)

So it's a lot of stuff to push into your brain. My right hand cramped up so I tried to pound water into my system. I was the smart one who wore a hat in the water just to keep the sun off my neck and ears. I didn't adequately put sun screen on the backs of my hands, so they got burned. But that's not all...

º§§º

Even in the relatively cold water of Dutch Springs, a so-called "Farmer John" 7mm wetsuit is too warm for me. It's too warm for me at the surface, and it's even too warm below the thermocline. If I'm doing any kind of exercise regularly, I start to run very hot -- meaning that even when I'm not working out at the moment I am physically warm. This seems to be true of my older brother and he's a triathlete type.
So during the rescue course I managed to be too hot, too cold, overweighted, and underweighted; all in just two days.
In the full Farmer John I had two 10-lb weights in my pockets and another pair of 4-lb weights in the back pockets of my BCD. That was not enough weight. Exactly, 28 pounds had me under weighted so it was very difficult to get down.
Oh wait, that doesn't even include my ankle weights which are another 3.9 lbs.
When you're overweighted (which happened after I dumped the Farmer John and went to just a dive skin and a 3mm Lavacore suit) you can't get up high enough to do rescue breaths. So ugh. That was a mistake.
I have to sort out my weight situation.
§§§
I got myself hurt twice. Both times it was while being the victim. The first time I was underweighted (in the Farmer John with 32 lbs) and supposed to play a "passively panicked diver at the bottom". So I was upside-down and starting to float up and I reached out and grabbed a rock with my fingertips. Big mistake. The barnacles or whatever put two very neat 1cm slices in the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. And it would not stop bleeding. Not very big cuts, but they hurt and were really annoying. But my dive buddy did rescue my non-moving body.

The second time I got hurt I was being carried up on someone's back and something stabbed me in the gut. I think it was just his pelvic bone. But it hit me in a tender place in my middle. Oof. That, uh, is still sensitive and probably will still hurt for a couple days.
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On the second day we were going to do another scenario. Our instructor chose one of our group and the dude said "No! I don't wanna do it." So the instructor said "Okay, so who should it be?" And dude totally Julia'd me -- "Him! Make him do it." So the instructor said "Okay, Andrew is the Most Senior Diver in this scenario. He's the one in charge."
All I could think was, oh no. I'm just about to have my ass kicked.
So the scenario is the 8 of us divers are snorkeling around on the surface about 40 feet from the shore. And a diver pops up (played by the instructor) saying that he lost his buddy (the dive master). We asked where they were going and he said the end of one dock to the other dock. They saw a shark or something and his buddy disappeared. He was distraught and didn't know what to do.

Now we'd done exactly this scenario the day before, (yeah, right) and in that case we'd just had to run a search pattern to find a mannequin head the instructor hid on the bottom.
So, as the "senior diver" (which is a joke because I've never dived without an instructor, I've only done the courses up through rescue) I told two people to be "spotters" (oh, oof, I just now realized that one of those spotters was a spotter the day before, I hadn't taken that into consideration, not that I should, but yeah.) I told another two to start a search pattern starting from the one dock and another pair to start searching from the other dock. I told my dive buddy to stick by me and told someone else to activate EMS.
My spotter saw bubbles. (I'm such an idiot I didn't even notice them and they were like 10 feet from me). So I re-assigned the second group of divers to go investigate the bubbles rather than start their search pattern.
I believe I asked someone to escort the instructor to shore and to get the O2 kit. That didn't happen because of simulation reasons -- the instructor was going to stay up there with us. And maybe I didn't do it.
What also did I not do? I did not set up a way to recall divers. That turned out all right for three reasons.
  • There is no practical way to recall divers at Dutch Springs. 
  • And it's largely irrelevant that they can't be recalled -- unlike how it is on a dive boat where you have to get back asap because the boat has to go.
  • My first dive team did not have enough weight to get down, so they never went under the surface, so there was no need to recall them. Ahem.
So my second team could escort the breathing and responsive diver to the shore where he "received" O2 and awaited pretend EMT's.
Yay. Diver(s) rescued. 
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The number one thing I should have done was to assign someone (my dive buddy) to think about things we should be doing and tell me what they were. Also I could have been somewhat slower in assigning tasks. And I should have been more careful with the diver on the surface played by the instructor -- made sure he had enough air in his BCD and such, made sure he had an escort.
ººº
The big takeaways I have from the course is that the buried lede in all of "rescue diving" is that the number one thing you can do for a panicked diver is to make contact with them. Eye contact. Reassure them. In SCUBA that's most of what you'll ever run into -- upset people who need to know that everyone is cool and it's all good. Also, this is really an important life lesson. If someone's upset, show them that things are fine, or help them make things fine.

The other thing, which everyone agrees with, is that the course is too short. And it totally is. You should probably spend weeks doing the skills you learn. Two days in the water is not enough. But in reality that's not really the issue so much as not doing a couple days like that every 6 months. Or at the beginning of "dive season" or whatever. This is why the military continually practices skills they learn, it's the only way to stay current.
Ha! Dive joke. Stay "current".

So yeah. This is the course everyone says is hard but satisfying. And it totally is. But now I have a clue about just how much I don't know. So it's sort of the setup of a lifetime of practice. Also, I'm getting my own decent first aid kit.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Things You Need to Know (with additional bunny and moon)

It is indeed possible to buy some canvas reproductions of Seignac paintings. They do kind of rock you for the frames so you can get them without frames.

Camtasia seems to be the go-to screencasting software.

How to move "My Documents".

Have I mentioned Free File Sync lately?

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Rescue Diver Notes

My notes for the PADI Rescue Diver class. These are the things I will never remember unless I write them down (a whole lot). 
  • Air Embolism is air in the tissues that block circulation
  • Subcutaneous Emphysema is air under the skin at the base of the neck.
  • Mediastinal Emphysema is are in the center of the chest
  • Pneumothorax is air in the chest cavity that collapses the lung.

I totally got upsold on a Henderson dive skin because of the logic that it makes getting in and out of a wetsuit easier.
I could get a compass. I could get the Scubapro FS compass. But it's a hundred bucks. And I have a liquid-filled Suunto for now. I'll get another pair of shears and a sheath though.

Here's a good set of questions to ask a patient:
  1. Were you scuba diving today or breathing compressed air?
  2. Did you make a forced or rapid ascent?
  3. How deep did you go?
  4. What was your bottom time?
  5. Do you feel excessively tired?
  6. Where do you hurt?
  7. Do you feel dizzy?
  8. Does any part of you feel numb or tingle?
  9. Are you having trouble breathing?