Organising for market

Tomorrow is the market day – my first one since March. I did some preparation today – checked my box of gear and added a few items, and charged up my Square reader so I can process payments. A friend is arriving early tomorrow to pick up me and all my stock and gear and take us to the market to set up by 9am.

I also started work on a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. I’ll need to get a batch completed in the coming week, so I hope to have them written by Monday and take photos Tuesday.

Next weekend I have a weekend trip to the country planned with my wife and Scully. We had to cancel a similar trip planned for April, and we rebooked it for next weekend when New South Wales COVID restrictions eased off… but now there are more cases popping up and I’m hoping it won’t get bad within the next week and end up with restrictions being imposed again. We’ll have to wait and see.

New content today:

Games and Proof

Tonight is fortnightly games night. I’ve just finished my first game of the evening, a 6-player game of 7 Wonders. Normally I don’t do very well in games against my friends, but I won this one, so that’s a good start to the evening!

Today I finished writing the new Proof that the Earth is a Globe that I started yesterday, and posted it. So that was a good job completed.

New content today:

Nerdsniped

Today I started working on a new one of my “100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe“. It’s the first one I’ve started for some time, because I’ve been distracted at home a lot with my wife working from home and haven’t been able to sit down knowing that I could work uninterrupted for several hours at a time. But today I just knuckled down and got started despite that. Normally I’d finish an article the same day I start, but I’m only about half way through, so hopefully I’ll be able to finish and post it tomorrow.

I took a break at lunch time to go do another 5k run. My fastest time for the 5k last year was 29:06, and last week I managed 29:16, so today my goal was to break 29 minutes. Unfortunately I miscounted laps and after sprinting the last couple of hundred metres and bending over exhausted to catch my breath while I checked my time on my phone, I discovered that I’d only covered 4.6 km! I still had a lap to go! I had to put the disappointment aside immediately and get the legs working again and set off on another lap…

But I managed it! My time for the full 5k today was 28:05. While running the last few laps I felt pretty exhausted and again really had to push through it mentally to avoid stopping, but now a few hours later my legs definitely don’t feel nearly as tired as last week.

I boasted to my friends on our online chat. One asked me if I was running laps of a street route, but I said no, the streets here are much too hilly for me to run, so I do laps of the nearby sports oval. And then this conversation happened:

Friend: Actually your run is consistent with orbiting a very dense object at the centre of the oval. #100ProofsGoreHillOvalIsABlackHole

Me: hmm…. I could calculate the mass, given the radius and speed… Damn, now I have to do it.

And I did. Approximating the oval as a circle and using the equation for a circular orbit: v = √(GM/r) gives the mass M of an object needed to cause me to orbit it at speed v and radius r. My speed was 5000/(28×60+5) = 2.97 m/s. I ran 11 full laps, totalling 5.14 km, so the radius of the oval is approximately (5140 m)/(11 laps)/(2π) = 74.4 m. Plugging the numbers in gives M = 9.81×1012 kg. Which is basically 1013 kg to any sensible degree of accuracy.

According to Wikipedia, 1013 kg is almost exactly the mass of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Which is a little large to fit inside the oval. But never fear, for it’s also roughly the mass of two teaspoonfuls of degenerate neutron matter, which one could easily fit into the middle of a sports oval. If that much degenerate neutron matter had been in the middle of the oval, I could have stayed in orbit about it by running in a straight line. Although I suspect my orbit would decay rapidly after 5 km of running…

Friend: I’m so happy I nerdsniped you into doing this.

And just to include a photo: for dinner tonight I made a vegetable quiche, stuffed with potato, cauliflower, pumpkin, broccolini, onion, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and cheese:

Vegetable quiche

New content today:

Standards reporting

Today was a day to work on writing my report for the recent ISO Photography standards meeting – the one that I attended virtually and had to stay up to 2am each night for four nights a few weeks ago. Part of my role in this is to prepare a report for Standards Australia on all of the things discussed at the meeting. So I basically worked on that for much of the day. Got it finished a bit after dinner.

I’m going well with reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 6 in Italian. I’m up to page 72, and there are 216 pages, so that’s exactly a third of the way through. I’m definitely noticing that as I work my way through these books I’m having to look up fewer words, and I can work out the meanings of more unfamiliar words by context without needing to look them up.

New content today:

The storm?

The storm did finally hit overnight and we got a bit of heavy rain, but by the time I got up this morning the rain had stopped. Although it was cold and windy all day, and the rain did return at spotty intervals. But honestly it was nothing like the apocalypse that the weather bureau had warned us to expect. By lunchtime the sun was coming out again in between the odd showers, whereas I’d been prepared for a full day of torrential downpour. They forecast up to 50mm of rain today, but in the end we only got 13mm.

For a morning excursion I took Scully out to the hardware store, driving rather than walking. It’s next door to the home-maker centre which has dozens of furnishing shops as well as the pet shop, so we got to go in there too and Scully had a sniff up and down all the aisles of pet food. We got a bit wet walking between the two buildings, but not too bad. I also dropped off a box of electronic stuff, cables, light bulbs, and used batteries at the local recycling centre which is just around the corner from there too.

Tonight for dinner I recreated last night’s roast potato and pumpkin pizza. We always have two pizzas during what we call “pizza week” because the ready made bases come in packs of two. (I’m too lazy to make my own pizza bases from scratch each time.)

And then for dessert I made myself… a deconstructed rum ball!

Deconstructed rum ball

My wife bought me a madeira cake for a treat, which is what I use as the main ingredient to make rum balls – which I’ve made many times. But this time I thought I’d try something a little avant-garde and create myself a deconstructed dessert. After plating up (and taking photos) I sat down to eat it, mixing the ingredients with a desert fork on the plate… and it was both fun and delicious! 9/10 would do again!

New content today:

More calm before the storm?

So they told us that we’d get heavy rain today. It hasn’t rained a drop, and was sunny most of the day. There was some dramatic cloud building up late this afternoon, but as of mid-evening still not a drop of rain. Supposedly we’re still in for heavy rain and strong winds tomorrow… but I’ll believe it when I see it. It was cold though.

This was the view over the city about 4:30pm.

Incoming storm

This morning I walked up to the shops to buy a couple of things. I needed to get some batteries because the ones for the remote in our air conditioner died and we couldn’t turn the heat on or off without raiding the DVD remote for batteries – and then couldn’t control the DVD player without switching them back. And since I was going to the shops anyway, I thought I’d get some chocolate sprinkles that I want for a dessert. However when I was up there I completely forgot to get the chocolate sprinkles.

And then later in the morning I took Scully out for a walk, and I went the other direction to the other nearby shops, where there’s a small supermarket. While there, I popped in to get the chocolate sprinkles… and they had ten different varieties of cake sprinkles… all colours and flavours, but no chocolate! So in two trips to two different supermarkets I didn’t manage to get them.

I also failed to get another thing I wanted from the Japanese grocery store. I wanted ramen noodles so I could make myself some ramen for lunch. But they only had udon and somen noodles, which are thicker and thinner respectively. I made do with somen, but honestly I find them too thin. But I did use them to make a pseudo-ramen for lunch:

Home made ramen

I even made a soft-boiled egg to put in. It turned out pretty good. And for dinner I roasted some kipfler potato slices and pumpkin chunks and a clove of garlic, before putting them on a pizza.

Potato and pumpkin pizza

This afternoon I worked a bit on a new tagging system for Square Root of Minus Garfield (plus other mezzacotta comics). I made a database table and populated it with tags and descriptions. This is a project that’s been on my to-do list for ages, and I though it wouldn’t be too difficult or time consuming, and I have a volunteer on the forums who wants to go through and tag all the comics, so that makes it a good opportunity to get it done.

New content today:

The calm before the storm

That storm is forecast to hit Sydney tomorrow, but today dawned beautiful and clear. It’s clouded in and there are odd showers now, but it should intensify overnight.

Most of the morning I spent doing housecleaning and various other chores. Then I spent some time writing up a review of the sausage roll I had at the bakery yesterday, and editing and uploading a bunch of photos from my old trip to Thailand. Here’s a seafood stall in the Anusarn Night Market in Chiang Mai:

Chiang Mai night market

This evening my wife and I started back into watching Doctor Who. We’ve bought all the boxed sets of the recent series, but fell out of watching them some time ago, so now we’re a few seasons behind. We decided it was time to get stuck into them, and so tonight we watched the season 9 Christmas special: Last Christmas. Wow, it was really good. Definitely looking forward to watching the rest of the series.

New content today:

Exploring Hunters Hill

It was a rainy, grey Saturday morning. Weather forecasters are telling us that an east coast low pressure system is developing, and we’ll be experiencing heavy rain and gale force winds on Monday and Tuesday, and it seems to be ramping up towards that already. There wasn’t a lot of rain today though – just some showers interspersed with long breaks.

We decided to go out and find a new bakery to have lunch at today. I checked Google Maps for somewhere not too far away, and find a likely looking spot about 10 minutes drive away. My wife and I went with Scully and managed to get an outside table at Stoneground Bakery in the suburb of Hunters Hill. It seems like a nice bakery and we also bought a loaf of sourdough bread to take home and have with dinner tonight.

After eating, we decided to take a walk around a few of the back streets to give Scully some exercise and loop back the long way to the car. We passed a few interesting places on the way:

St Kevin's. Hunters Hill walk

This is St Kevin’s, an old sandstone cottage, now being used as a solicitor’s office. It’s listed on the NSW heritage register as a significant historical building. Hunters Hill was one of the earliest areas of Sydney to be settled by the wealthier free settlers in the colony, and there are a lot of old houses in the area.

St Joseph's. Hunters Hill walk

This was actually originally a school, known as “Toronto”, but it’s now been converted into the St Jospeh’s Aged Care facility.

Hunters Hill walk

Down the hill from here is Tarban Creek, which flows under the Tarban Creek Bridge (visible in this photo) into Sydney Harbour. The creek is rather wide at this point! You can also see how grey the weather was today.

New content today:

Recovery day

My sore legs were recovering from yesterday’s 5k run, so I didn’t end up doing very much particularly active today.

I did go out for the weekly grocery shop, but even that was low key, as our shopping list literally had only 4 items on it (crackers, Weet Bix breakfast cereal, arborio rice, and eggs) – although we never list staples that we buy every week, such as milk, bread, yoghurt, fruit, vegetables, and some prepared vegetarian foods. I basically browse the fruit and vegetable section and decide what strikes my fancy to cook/eat during the week and just grab some things. Today I got: kipfler potatoes, a red onion (those two to make potato salad), cherry tomatoes, a cauliflower, half a butternut pumpkin, a bunch of broccolini, several apples, an orange, a pomegranate, and three bananas. I also got some chick pea burger patties, and falafels.

I took Scully out briefly before lunch, but otherwise spent the day goofing off and making a couple of new Darths & Droids comics. Oh, and I processed a bunch of old photos from a trip to Thailand in 2005 that I took on 35mm film and scanned a while ago. This is Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai:

Wat Phra Singh

Tonight for dinner, my wife and I went out to one of our favourite restaurants, a local seafood place that does really nice fish dishes. It’s the first time we’ve been there since the restaurants closed for COVID restrictions a few months ago. Being winter, I had my favourite winter warmer dish – the snapper pie. Mmmm…

New content today:

Back into 5k

Scully seemed perfectly fine today, following yesterday’s nasty incident. So that’s good.

Also good today, I got back into my exercise “routine”. I said I’d start doing 5k runs again, at least once a week, and today I did one for this week. Previously I timed myself going up the street to the oval as part of the run, and then I completed 9 laps, which brought the total distance to 5 kilometres. But the walk/jog from my place to the oval is uphill, and in fact climbs about 70 metres in 900 metres horizontally, so that part slowed me down and puffed me out early in the run.

Instead, today I walked casually up to the oval, and only began recording my run when I started doing laps on the flat playing field. I figured I needed to about 12 laps rather than 9. I set out at a slow jog, hoping to be able to keep that pace up for the whole distance without slowing down to a walk. I was struggling by 8 laps and really had to push myself to not drop to a walk, but I managed to get to 11 laps when I decided I’d take a look at the distance to see how far I had to go, and if it was just 100-200 metres I’d sprint it out. But when I checked at 11 laps, my tracker had recorded 5.1 km, so I’d finished!

My split time for the 5k was 29:16, which Strava tells me is my second best effort (best is 29:06, back in November). So I’m pretty happy with effort after a break of so many months. My legs are pretty sore though, even after a full suite of stretches and warm down – they definitely need to get used to this again.

To celebrate – and to overcompensate for all the kilojoules burnt! – I spoilt myself with pies for lunch on the way home. I did decide to be good and only get vegetarian ones, planning to get the delicious Thai curry vegetable, and a pumpkin and lentil. But when I got to the pie shop, they’d sold out of both of those, and in fact all of the vegetarian options, except for the roast vegetable and the spinach, corn, and cheese, which is definitely the least healthy of the vegetarian pies they make, stuffed with cheese as it is (although it’s delicious). So I got one of each of those, and really enjoyed them.

New content today: