Scully’s 5th birthday!

Today was the Big 5 for Scully! (Not the big 5-0, just the big 5 🤣) She got a wrapped gift from our neighbours, which she had fun tearing the paper off, revealing a… llamacorn. Yeah, a rainbow coloured llama-unicorn toy. She got into it and gave it a good chew so that was a hit.

I slept poorly during the night. The COVID has moved up to resemble a bad head cold, with blocked sinuses and dripping nose. I could lie on my back without my nose running, but I’m a side sleeper and don’t feel comfortable lying on my back and can’t fall asleep that way. But whenever I rolled into a comfortable positions on my side, my nose would start running within a few seconds and I had to jump out of bed, grab some tissues, and blow my nose. Rinse, repeat.

The annoying thing is I don’t feel especially sick – under the weather certainly, but not a complete mess – but I just can’t get a restful sleep. I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep since I first noticed symptoms on Wednesday. Today I didn’t have any more feverish spells or hot sweats, so I think things are on the mend. I’m hoping I can really conk out and sleep soundly tonight. My sinuses are still badly clogged, but hopefully not as runny as last night.

I decided to cancel ethics classes tomorrow, and also for Tuesday and Wednesday, because now I’ve cancelled more than half a week, so I figured I should just go ahead and cancel a full week’s worth, and shuffle my topics forward a week so none of the students actually miss out on any of the topics. I’m almost certain I won’t be able to go into the university tomorrow to teach Data Engineering there either.

New content today:

COVID day 4

Still feeling pretty miserable, though the symptoms are at least an ever-changing cavalcade of new sensations. Today I woke up with my sinuses and ears blocked. The throat doesn’t feel as gluggy, overtaken by sniffling, nose-blowing, and a general stuffy head. Again the morning was easier, but I developed feverish chills and aching muscles again in the late afternoon. Definitely not a pleasant disease, this.

Today was the New South Wales State election. Fortunately I’d gone up with my wife on Wednesday to a pre-polling station and cast my vote then, so I didn’t have to go do it today. We’ve had a conservative government here for the past 12 years, and looking at the very early results being counted as I type, it looks like a foregone conclusion that they’ll be voted out.

I took Scully for a short walk in the morning while my wife went out to pick up an item she’d ordered. She didn’t tell me about this until she got home with it: It’s a gift for Scully for her 5th birthday, which is tomorrow. It’s a new dog bed sewn out of some of my wife’s old clothes.

Scully and her 5th birthday gift

The idea is that her scent is all over it, so it’ll be familiar and comfortable for Scully to snuggle on.

Tonight we ordered some Indian food for dinner. We almost never order food delivered, but seeing as I can’t go out to a restaurant and didn’t feel too enthused about cooking myself, we decided it would be a good idea tonight.

New content today:

COVID day 3

Again my symptoms eased off overnight and I felt not too bad in the morning, but they’ve gotten worse again this evening. The main thing is alternating feverish chills with goosebumps and hot flushes with lots of sweating. My throat feels clogged with something like really thick phlegm. I’m coughing occasionally, but too badly, but it doesn’t help the clogged feeling much. I’m glad I don’t have a worse cough. Honestly, I’d rather have a fever than a persistent cough – I hate uncontrollable coughing.

Yesterday I’d cancelled all today’s ethics classes, and I’m glad I did. Teaching kids in this state would have been extremely mentally taxing. I took Scully for a walk a few times. I felt well enough to do that, making sure I didn’t go near anyone while outside. And apart from a little bit of comic writing, I’ve been relaxing and watching some TV.

I started watching the Netflix series Marianne, which is a French horror series. I have the English dub and the English subtitles on, since occasionally a train goes past and it becomes difficult to hear the dialogue for a few seconds. I’ve noticed that the English dialogue and the subtitles are wildly different. Not just a different word here and there, but whole different sentences. Sometimes the dub mentions something while the subtitles leave it out, and vice versa. And I noticed one occasion where the subtitles actually said the exact opposite of what the dialogue said. It’s actually somewhat entertaining to watch just to see the differences.

New content today:

Well, it finally happened

The night was pretty bad with my suspected flu. I was fevery and shivery for a few hours, than got hot. I’m not sure if I slept at all. By this morning I actually felt better. I did two ethics classes, hoping the worst was over. But it crept back over the course of the day.

I just did another COVID RAT test… and it’s positive. I’ve avoided it up until now. I was hoping my streak would continue, but it’s come to an end.

I cancelled tomorrow’s ethics classes, because if I feel like this tomorrow it’ll be a serious struggle.

New content today:

Sick for the first time in ages

Very short update today. I am feeling pretty miserable – feverish, sore throat, light-headed, a bit achey. I did a COVID RAT test and it’s clear, and I don’t have a cough, so I’m thinking it might be the flu.

This is the first time I’ve felt sick in the slightest since pre-COVID. It was a good run while it lasted. Going to get an early night and rest.

New content today:

The Incinerator Cafe

This morning I worked on annotating the slides for one of the science classes I did with the individual student a while back – the one on weather. I planned to do that and the recent one on photography by 10am, but by 10:30 I’d only finished the first one! It takes a lot longer than I realise. After that I had to work on some comics to keep them ticking over.

For lunch I took Scully for a short drive to a new place. I searched for dog-friendly cafes in the area and found one I hadn’t heard of before, The Incinerator Cafe. It’s in an old heritage-listed garbage incinerator building. It was fairly nice, and I had the beef burger.

Beef burger, Incinerator Cafe

It was okay sitting outside, as it was cool and very overcast today, though it didn’t rain at all. We’re supposed to get some rain over the next few days, but the temperature will warm up again to around 30°C.

Tonight I’m starting the new week of ethics classes, on the topic of photography. I’m using a lot of my own photos as examples, to discuss the ethics of taking photos of strangers, editing photos in different contexts, photojournalism, and photos as art. I think this will be an easy week, compared to some topics that take a lot more work to get the kids talking about.

New content today:

Data presentation for beginners

Monday, and the weather was a lot cooler, with a few showers. I had three ethics classes, and then had to head off to the university for this weeks’s Data Engineering lecture. This is one of my favourites in the course, as it’s a lecture I designed about data presentation. It goes into formatting tables, and producing graphs, in ways that are clear and informative, without being confusing or deceptive. It sounds simple, but there’s quite a lot of subtlety to the topic, and the presentation plus the illustrative tutorial exercises for the students to complete fills up over 2.5 hours.

Afterwards I headed home and had to decide to either quickly make a new Irregular Webcomic! strip for tonight, or to abandon the week and just do reruns this week. I ran out of buffer last week and haven’t had time to make a new batch of comics. I decided not to stress myself out, and to give myself a break and hopefully I’ll have time to make a full batch by next Monday.

I made sure I didn’t repeat last week’s mistake and end up not having lunch until 2pm, but having my lunch during a break at at 11:30, before my final ethics class at midday. This meant I wanted a snack during the university lecture, so I grabbed a pack of choc-mint biscuits from the supermarket before I went in. Mmmm….

New content today:

Hot March

It was hot again today. We’ve been having a serious hot spell, with several days in the past couple of weeks hotter than anything we had all summer. And today was in some parts of New South Wales the hottest March day ever recorded, although we didn’t quite break that record here in Sydney. They do say, however, that we’re likely to have the hottest overall March on record.

I slept in a bit and went for a run after breakfast, but by the time I went it was already heating up, so it was not pleasant and my time was slow. Then mostly I worked on Darths & Droids comics, before having online classes this evening. Not really much more to say about the day, actually – I didn’t do anything unusual.

New content today:

Games night and finishing a new game

Friday was very busy. I did the grocery shopping in the morning. I picked up a couple of boxes of figs, since they seem to be in season at the moment and are fairly cheap. I’ll have some with honey later tonight for dessert… yum.

After that I had an ethics class, then went to my wife’s work to pick up Scully and bring her home for the rest of the day. Then after lunch I had the final lesson in the Creative Thinking and Game Design course with the girl I’ve been teaching that to for the past few weeks. She said she liked the idea of the game we were working on designing, but the theme was too much like Werewolf, and she said it was confusing her family who were getting it mixed up with that game. She I suggested some re-themes of the the same mechanics. I brainstormed a few with my friends and we came up with:

  1. Players work for different companies and try to recruit other players.
  2. Players are trying to spread different conspiracy theories. At the end one is proven false, and everyone who believes it loses. The only player who doesn’t believe it wins.
  3. Players are on different social media networks and get others to join their network. At the end, someone’s parents decide to join a network and everyone on that network loses.
  4. Players like different snack foods and get others to try them. They’re all tasty, so whoever tries one likes it. At the end, it is revealed that one of them is actually healthy, and everyone who likes that one loses.

We went through these ideas and how they would work, and she selected the social media one as her favourite. So this morning I worked on re-theming the game to do that. Some of the mechanics had to change a bit and it was quite a bit of work to get it into shape again. I finished just after lunch.

Back to yesterday, after the game design class I had three more ethics classes, which led into Friday online board games night with my friends, which was a good way to unwind and relax. We played a new game in Board Game Arena, called Rauha. It was fun and had a fair bit of strategy going on. Then we played some of the regular games like Kingdomino, 7 Wonders, and so on.

And back to today. This afternoon I worked on planning more future ethics classes, lining up classes for after a week’s break over Easter that I’m planning on taking. And then I wrote the lesson plan for next week’s class on Photography.

Which brings me to evening and time to check out for the night…

New content yesterday:

New content today:

Thursday, take a breath

I feel like I’ve been running to stand still, like the Red Queen’s race in Through the Looking-Glass. This week I’ve been getting comics done and writing lessons for classes at the last minute to make the deadlines, and not having a moment to rest in between. I actually didn’t finish my lesson plan for this morning’s advanced class on Activism, but I had enough questions to wing it through the last 15 minutes of the class and it worked out fine.

After that and a younger class, I had the rest of the day to do other things. I took Scully for a walk and got fish & chips for lunch. I didn’t realise how hot it was outside – it got up to 36°C today. Fortunately my eating spot overlooking the harbour is in the shade of a tree, so it was nice to just sit there for a while.

This afternoon was discussion planning, and writing for Darths & Droids. I also did a bunch of little tasks that have been piling up. Oh, including rescheduling the last game design class from yesterday that the student missed to tomorrow. She contacted me to apologise because they had a power outage due to a storm so couldn’t join the lesson. Doing it tomorrow means I have five classes tomorrow!

New content today: