Spring cleaning

Today was an extra heavy housework day. I hired a carpet cleaning machine from the local hardware store, picking it up first thing this morning. Before using it, I did an extra thorough vacuum cleaning to remove as much dirt as possible. Then it was filling up the machine with hot water and carpet shampoo, and using it to go over the whole house (well, except the kitchen and bathroom and laundry, which don’t have carpet). It leaves the carpet slightly damp, so it was time to throw open all the windows for a cross breeze to help it dry out. But it removes a lot of gunk from the carpet – the retrieved water in the collecting tank was almost black. It’s hard work – I’d like to clean the carpet like this more often, but only do it a few times a year. It took a few hours and I was dripping with sweat by the end of it.

After all that hard work I treated myself to a nice lunch at a local pub. They have a chicken schnitzel that is really good.

In the afternoon I had to clean out the carpet cleaner and then take it back to the hardware store. On that trip I decided to buy some timber shelving so that I could install a few extra shelves in the kitchen cupboard that we use to hold mugs and glassware. The cupboards have two shelves, far enough apart that we can stack mugs and glasses two high on each shelf, with room to spare. I realised it would be better to have extra shelves, then we could spread the mugs and glasses out and not have to stack them on top of each other. I don’t own a saw, so I had the hardware store cut the timber to size, and they did a pretty good job. Now I just need to drill some shelf peg holes. I do have a drill, but I may need to go back and a buy a bit of the right size.

Phew.

For dinner I cooked a Thai green curry with various vegetables: cauliflower, broccolini, pumpkin, red capsicum (red pepper, for non-Australians), onions. I thought it turned out pretty well.

New content today:

Comic production

I spent most of today making that batch of comics I’ve been working on writing the past few days. Shooting the photos took all morning, after which I treated myself to a lunch up the street at the local “healthy” supermarket, which has a hot buffet lunch thingy. I got a box of various grilled and curried vegetables.

The afternoon was taken up with assembling the comics from the photos I’d shot in the morning. I finished that around 8pm, giving me time to watch some TV with my wife for the evening. And besides looking after Scully and taking her to the dog park for a while, that was pretty much my whole day.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of the strips I made today…

IWC Stranger Things

New content today:

First day of spring

It’s officially spring and the weather was very spring-like, with warm sunshine drying up the rain of the past few days. I spent much of the day out with my wife and Scully, enjoying the fresh air. We went to two different parks to let Scully run around and chase tennis balls, and stopped off for lunch at a bakery where we hadn’t been before. It was pretty good! I wrote up a review for my food blog: Snot Block & Roll.

That was about it, really, apart from a bit of housecleaning and a relaxing evening watching episodes of Northern Exposure. Wife and I decided to start rewatching the series form Episode 1 again. Tomorrow I’m planning to photograph the latest batch of comic scripts that I’ve been working on the past few days, so that’s a big day of creative work ahead.

New content today:

More comic writing

Saturday is housework day! I vacuumed the carpet and cleaned the bathroom and shower. Then got stuck into finishing off writing the current batch of Irregular Webcomic! I managed to polish that off just after lunch. This batch includes the first strips in a brand new theme – which I’m a bit excited about, since I haven’t introduced a new theme for a long time – the Scientific Revolution theme which began in strip 2154. Over ten years ago!

The afternoon was family time, with an afternoon tea with my wife’s family. We stopped on the way to buy some cannolis from the good Italian bakery near us, but it was nearly their closing time and they only had one left in the display when we got there. So I asked for that and a few other little sweets. Then the owner came out and asked me how I was going, and I said fine, except I’d been hoping for more cannolis. And he said he’d go out the back and pipe some fresh for me! He made some vanilla custard and some ricotta cannolis, but it seemed they were out of chocolate custard, alas.

Scully got to go for a bit of a walk during the afternoon tea.

Last day of winter

Thankfully the rain eased off a lot today, and by sunset the sun had actually come out again.

New content today:

Rainy day writing

It rained more today, heavier than yesterday. I wrote Irregular Webcomic! scripts in the morning while listening to the music of Five Year Mission.

After lunch I collected Scully from my wife’s work, and then had to keep her amused for an hour before taking her to doggy daycare. Wife had booked her in for daycare today because of the weather forecast – as we discovered yesterday it’s difficult to get her some good outdoors exercise when it’s cold and raining heavily. I couldn’t let her run around and get soaked in the rain, so I took her to the pet shop where she likes to roam up and down the aisles sniffing everything. And then we went to the daycare place, which is probably her favourite place in the world (besides home of course!). She gets to play with lots of other dogs and usually comes home exhausted. Here’s a photo the daycare people took of her with a friend:

Friyay at doggy daycare

I wrote more comics in the afternoon. Writing a batch of comics can take up to two days of work. I’ll have to finish this batch off tomorrow. That was basically it for the day. Writing comic scripts is the most time consuming part of making Irregular Webcomic!, because of periods of writer’s block, and other periods of doing research. For one strip I wrote today I spent a couple of hours researching the history of various Greek provinces during the Roman era, which included this tweeted appeal for assistance. (I found the answer.) You can probably guess what theme it was for. It’s amazing the amount of research I put into a simple gag comic strip sometimes.

This evening was a relaxing dinner out with wife and Scully at one of our favourite Indian restaurants. We walked up the street, with the rain thankfully just light, easing off for the night.

Rainy night at Crowie

New content today:

Architects of the West Kingdom

It was a very rainy day today, which is good because Sydney needs a lot of rain to break this drought we’re in.

Andrew C. organised a lunch at his place today, with sausage sandwiches and board games. Steven was supposed to be there, but unfortunately he was sick, so we only had three players: Andrew, Tim, and me. We played Architects of the West Kingdom, which has a lot of possible options every move, but individual moves are very small and quick, so we cycle through turns quickly. You place one of your workers each turn, and perform a simple action depending on where you put them: either collecting resources of various types (wood, ore, bricks, silver, gold), constructing buildings, hiring assistants, or – and this is the interesting one – rounding up opponents’ workers with the aim of ransoming them to the prison for silver. I concentrated on building buildings, while Tim went for completing the cathedral, and Andrew aimed for prestige. I ended up winning by just a couple of points thanks to my stockpiling of gold and marble. It was pretty cool and definitely a game to play again. Thumbs up!

I stopped off on the way home to buy some liquorice tea to refill my empty container at home. It’s my favourite hot drink.

And then in the afternoon my wife and I took Scully out for some exercise, thinking we needed to despite the rain. We got to the dog park and there were only three of the regulars in attendance. We went for a walk under our umbrellas, and with Scully wearing a doggy raincoat. But within a few minutes Scully was soaked and shivering with cold, so we had to scoop her up and carry her back to the car and try to warm her up again. The rain was getting heavier and we all got pretty wet.

Back home we dried her off with the hair drier, which warmed her up again. She’s very good and doesn’t mind the hair drier. But then this evening she was restless and demanded some play time to get out her energy, running around the house and shaking her dog toys around a lot. Thankfully she’s settled down for the night now. Tomorrow will be interesting, as it’s supposed to be even more, heavier rain.

In between all this, I wrote some Irregular Webcomic! scripts for a new batch of comics that I’ll have to make over the next few days.

New content today:

On a road to nowhere

This morning was my Ethics class, and we continued the topic of stealing, with three example stories about various common forms of theft that many people do: pirating software, not reporting being undercharged by a shop, and public transport fare evasion. We discussed whether these things are actually morally wrong and, if they are, why so many people do them. The kids were reasonably well behaved today – I think my behaviour management efforts from last week have had some effect.

After the class, I’d decided to go for a bit of a drive and check out a game shop out in the suburbs which has a good reputation but which I’d never visited before. They had a bunch of sale items on their web site and I thought I’d browse around and maybe pick up a cheap board game or two. The website said they opened at 10:30. I arrived a few minutes early, so went for a a bit of a walk around the premises, which was an industrial estate – it seems most of their business is mail order shipping, rather than walk-in customers.

I got back a few minutes after 10:30, but the door was still locked. I looked on it and saw a faded sign saying they opened at 11:00! So I had half an hour to wait. There wasn’t anything else interesting in the area, so I checked Google Maps and found a bakery about 10 minutes walk away, where I could go to get a snack and a drink. I did so, then waked back again, arriving a bit after 11:00… only to find the door still locked. I examined the sign again, and saw that they opened at 11:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They were closed all day Wednesday!

So I’d driven 40 minutes to this place for no reason, spent over half an hour waiting around fruitlessly, and could do nothing but drive home again. That pretty much wasted half the day, and it was hard to get motivated again after returning home, so I ended up wasting a lot of the afternoon too. I did achieve going to the hardware store to buy some stuff, and taking Scully to the pet store to let her browse around – she loves visiting the pet store and sniffing everything. But didn’t get any sort of work-type stuff done.

Sometimes you just have one of those days.

New content today:

Lunch

It was supposed to rain today. The forecast was for 25 mm of rain, which is a lot. As it turned out, there was barely a spot, and much of the day was partly sunny. Even when it’s supposed to rain, it seems the weather is determined to keep Sydney dry.

I spent much of the day out, returning the lasers and diffraction slits I borrowed to the Sydney University Physics Department, and then having lunch with a friend nearby. Here’s the main Quadrangle at Sydney University:

Quad

We ate at The Pie Tin in Newtown, which has delicious meat pies (and vegetarian ones too). After having a savoury, I eyed the sweet pies. They had a cherry ripe pie, with bits of Cherry Ripe bars in it. Cherry Ripe is an Australian chocolate bar, and one of the most enduringly popular bars in the country. It’s made of cherries, coconut, and chocolate. So a cherry ripe pie sounds pretty good.

But next to the cherry ripe pie was a “cherry, chocolate, and coconut pie”. I kid you not. The exact same three ingredients. But it didn’t have bits of Cherry Ripe bar in it – it was just cherry, chocolate, and coconut. To be fair, the two pies looked very different, with the cherry ripe one appearing to have a lot more chocolate, while the other was more of a coconut cream topping. Anyway, I selected the less chocolatey one (as I’m trying not to eat too much chocolate), and it was very good.

Cherry chocolate coconut pie

I stopped off in the city on the way home to do a bit of shopping. Then this afternoon my wife and I took Scully for a walk and exercise at the dog park.

Um, and we watched the last of the first set of 10 episodes of Disenchantment. We were a bit behind on watching this series, but it turns out our timing is good, as the next series of episodes is released in September. So it’s been a bit of a wash as far as creating stuff today, but sometimes you just need a day off!

New content today:

Laser day

Today was my visit to the primary school to talk to the older classes about the solar system, and to supervise my Science Club class while we did experiments with laser diffraction. We measured the diffraction patterns of red, blue, and green laser light through double slits, replicating Young’s seminal experiment which established that light had the properties of waves. We ran out of time to do all of the calculations, but very quickly I got a rough figure of 620 nanometres for the wavelength of the red laser (which actually has a wavelength of 632.8 nm, so we got pretty close). Over the next while I’ll refine the measurements and calculate the other wavelengths too.

It was rainy today in Sydney. At least on the coast. It was dry as I drove towards the school, which is near the coast, and as I came down the hill from the plateau to the coastal strip, it began raining, and was really heavy by the time I got to the school. Unfortunately, we need the rain inland, where the dams are for our water supply.

New content today:

Cathedral framed

Prep for Science Club

Today I did final preparations for Science Club at the school tomorrow. I checked all the lasers, got spare batteries, and copied the dimensions of the slits in the slides to a sheet of paper so I can read them easily during the experiment, rather than having to squint at tiny print. The blue laser is cool, but it’s difficult to see the diffraction patterns after passing through the slits – I suspect because our eyes aren’t nearly as sensitive to blue as they are to green and red. Hopefully it’ll work better in the dark library at the school.

This morning I did some grocery shopping. I do almost all the cooking at home and I like browsing around the vegetables looking for interesting things to cook with. Corn cobs were on special today, so I bought a couple. Not sure what I’ll make with them yet. Probably just boil them up and eat them on the cob, with something else on the side to fill out the meal. I also bought a chicken breast, but that’s for Scully. We don’t really cook meat at home, except on very rare occasions. (I don’t cook it very rare…)

My wife had her Rock School end-of-term concert this afternoon. Normally I attend in person, but today they were live streaming the concert and she was only singing lead on three songs, so I stayed home to get some other things done while watching the stream. I had to clean up a few messy piles of stuff that I’ve had eating up space on the dining table for a while.

For dinner tonight I made pasta with pumpkin, feta, walnuts, and chilli in burnt butter. It’s one of our favourite ways to have pasta – the nuts add a nice crunch which creates the range of textures with the soft pumpkin chunks, creamy feta, and al dente pasta. (Last night I made a frittata with potatoes, broccolini, caramelised leeks with balsamic vinegar and garlic, and of course eggs. It turned out pretty good, I thought. Taking a solid half hour to caramelise the leeks before doing anything else was worth it.)

The other thing I did today was process and upload a few more photos from my trip to Portugal back in May. Going through travel photos always takes a while, since I take a lot of photos! I started going through photos after our arrival in Porto. Porto is built on very hilly terrain:

Porto is on a hill

Here’s the Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, a spectacular church with azulejo tiles on the front edifice.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso

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