Seeing Mission Impossible, trying a standup desk, and diving out of Wrightsville

by Rob Tiller

RTillerbutterfly (1 of 1)Last week we went to see Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and liked it. This movie isn’t designed to provoke deep thought so much as to administer a dose of adrenaline, which it does admirably. There are various fine chases and explosions, amazing disguises, shoot outs, and, of course, some heroic computer hacking. It moves right along, and has an occasional wink as if to say, we all know this is a bit over the top.

Tom Cruise is remarkable, in that somehow, despite all we know about his incredible Scientology goofiness, he brings us in and takes us right along. Rebecca Ferguson plays his female counterpart from the British secret service. She is perhaps the most accomplished hand-to-hand fighter we’ve seen on the Mission Impossible team, and she looks particularly wonderful in an evening gown.

There was a moment or two when I thought, hasn’t this been done before? Yes, of course it has. With Jim Phelps, James Bond, Indiana Jones, and numerous comic book superheros. But who cares – it’s still fun.

Though it’s worth noting that the meta conceit of this Mission Impossible is potentially thought-provoking. I’ll not spoil it by just saying: what if a spy agency of a major power got out of control? And the spies had awesomely powerful weapons and no accountability? And the spying became detached from any ordinary purposes or values, except for – spying. Of course, that could never happen.

RTillerbutterfly (1 of 1)-2
I had a major and positive transformation in my work place technology last week – I got a stand up desk. This model is sturdy, roomy enough for two monitors and a keyboard, manually adjustable between sitting and standing with ease.

I’ve been concerned about the hazards of too much sitting for a while. There’s credible research that sitting more than three or four hours a day elevates various risks, from hunched shoulders, hip and back problems to cardiovascular disease and cancer. There’s info here, here, and here. My doctor agreed and recommended more standing.

My initial impression is, standing is invigorating. I feel more energetic and focused. I lower the desk for intervals to do certain tasks, like taking notes on phone calls, and also to change things up, but spend a lot more time on my feet.
RTillerbutterfly (1 of 1)-3

This weekend we went down to Wrightsville for a couple of wreck diving trips with Aquatic Safari. On Saturday, the seas were choppy, but we had a good dive on the wreck of the Pocahontas. There was reasonably good visibility, manageable current, and large numbers of small and medium fish.

But I was reminded of Murphy’s law. My BC started leaking loudly as I got ready to go in, and the captain advised unhooking the low pressure inflator and regulating by oral inflation under water. I said okay and went down. But blowing up a canvas balloon while 60 feet under isn’t so easy. And I had problems with my camera. The boat was pitching dramatically when it as time to get back in, and the metal ladder came down on my head, with blood resulting. Nurse Sally examined it and commented that it didn’t look like it needed stitches.

On Sunday we did two dives on the wreck of the Liberty ship. This required only a 15 minute boat ride, and the seas were calm. Visibility was not great – perhaps twenty feet at most, but we saw two octopuses (a rare treat). Also notable were oyster toadfish, porcupine fish, jellyfish, barracuda, and one southern sting ray.