Further to yesterday’s mention of Cyberpunk 2020, I had an idea for a game. Use the world setting as given in Cyberpunk 2020, but have technologies that exist in the real world but which don’t exist in CP2020 appear as newly emerging tech within the game.

For example, CP2020 basically has virtually no concept of wireless networking. To access a network you have to physically plug into a connected system. So imagine some megacorp within the game has just invented WiFi. How will this shake up the world? The PCs might be hired to steal the technology, or prevent it from being monopolised, or something.

Also further on gaming, tonight is the first face-to-face meeting of my fortnightly gaming group since March. We decided that with COVID apparently well under control here in New South Wales, we would start up meeting in person again. (We just reached the milestone of 14 days in a row with zero new cases, apart from residents newly arrived from overseas and already in quarantine.) So I’m writing and scheduling this post early before I head over. Should be fun!

New content today:

Secret project day

I spent most of today working on a secret project, which I won’t be revealing until some time next year. So there’s not much I can go into about that.

Um. I didn’t do much else, except go out for a pie for lunch, and take Scully to the dog park. It was warm today, but not too hot. Tomorrow is forecast to be hot again. I think we’re really past the chilly weather and into a summer pattern now.

Oh! I also grabbed a bunch of roleplaying books off Humble Bundle today – PDFs of the old Cyberpunk 2020 game by R. Talsorian Games. Published in 1990 (second edition of a 1988 game named just Cyberpunk), it was amusing going through the PDFs and seeing what they predicted that life would be like in the year 2020. Here’s a piece of art showing a guy buying some pirated software off a street hustler with a trench coat full of hot CDs:

I sure know I’d be out on the streets doing this if I wasn’t such an upstanding citizen.

New content today:

Super Fun Hyper Golf Day!

I got up at 6:30 this morning, when my wife took Scully out for her morning walk, and I headed to the local golf course. I haven’t played at a full sized course for a couple of months, and I was keen to try out my driving after hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range last week.

Unfortunately, my driving was awful. I played two balls, hitting them one after another and keeping the scores separate. Both my drives off the first tee skewed off short and far to the right. From the second tee they both went straightish, but dribbled along the grass only about 20 metres. And so it went… another two terrible drives on hole 5, hole 7, and hole 8. I did hit one on hole 7 cleanly, but managed to hit a tree about 40 metres away, which stopped it dead. (Holes 3, 4, and 6 are short and I use various irons for those instead of a driver.)

And so I got to hole 9, not having hit a good drive all morning. The first again skewed right and short. But the second connected cleanly and soared off into the distance, straight down the fairway. It was beautiful to see! I really think I need to take some lessons or something to improve my driving.


Everything other than the driver I was hitting nicely and fairly consistently, with only 2 or 3 bad shots. I made a lot of second shots with the 3 iron, smashing them down the fairway from the awful position after a bad drive. Once I got within 100 metres or so of the hole, I was hitting approach shots and pitches nicely.

Here’s where my two approach shots for hole 5 landed:

Lane Cove hole 5 approach shots

The more distant ball I chipped from off the green, about 20 metres away. The closer ball… I hit with an 8 iron from 90 metres away. I was watching it fly through the air, land just before the green, bounce onto the green and roll… towards the hole… I was willing it to go in, but you can see where it stopped. Let’s just have a closer look!

Lane Cove hole 5 approach shots

Wow. Clearly one of the best shots I’ve ever played.

And… my putting was probably the best day I’ve ever had. I was sinking nearly everything from distances up to about 1.5 metres. All in all, this more than made up for the horrendous driving. My previous best score for this 9 hole course was 55 strokes. Today with my two balls I scored 53, and 49. I am stoked with this performance, and if only I can get the driving under control I might actually start getting even lower scores.

I was done by 8:30, and headed home. I mostly worked on comics, but also spent some time exploring music on YouTube and iTunes, finding weird cover versions of songs I like and trying them to see how good they were.

For lunch I walked up to the fish & chip shop. But rather than get fish & chips, today I decided to try something different, and went for the barbecued fish burger. I’d like to say it was good, but I was a bit disappointed, and I don’t think I’ll get that again.

New content today:

Running the middle distance

I tried to do a 5k run this morning, but I was so uninspired halfway through that I stopped after 3k instead. It didn’t help that the weather is so humid now, although it was a lot cooler than yesterday.

Apart from that, mostly I worked on Darths & Droids writing today. In between cooking a few things – for lunch, dinner, and in mid-afternoon putting together something for dessert to chill in the fridge. Just a simple concoction of wheatmeal biscuits and mascarpone, to use up some leftover mascarpone from the other day. I had it with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Oh, I’ve been watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix with my wife. We’re really enjoying it. A friend of mine recommended it to me, and he was spot on.

New content today:

Post-market stocktake

I mostly relaxed today, taking things a bit easy after the hectic day at the market yesterday. I did have to do a stocktake of how many greeting cards and matted prints I have left, so I could update my stock levels on Etsy – to make sure I don’t sell something that I’d need to then order from the printer, thus taking an extra week or two to ship the item. Then I had to pack all the stock and ancillary equipment (easels, folding table and chair, display crates, miscellaneous bits and pieces) in the garage, out of the way until the next market day.

And I went to the post office to mail off an Etsy order to a buyer in the UK. I hope it gets to them in time for Christmas!

What else did I do…? Oh, some housecleaning. Cleaned the bathtub properly, which I haven’t done for ages.

Oh that’s right… I was also a bit lazy because of the weather, which was stiflingly warm and humid all day. The temperature hovered around 30°C most of the day, but a strong westerly wind came in around 3:30 pm, blowing hot air in from the desert, and that pushed temperatures up to 36.5°C on the coast, but as high as 41°C in Sydney’s inland suburbs. This was the hottest November day for five years.

I took Scully out to the dog park at that time, not realising it was going to get even hotter that late in the afternoon. She was very lazy in the heat, and only did a few half-hearted ball chases and then our regular walk down to the waterside and back, before deciding she’d had enough and she took off back to the car to wait for me. She does that when she’s ready to go home. I’m still chatting with the other dog owners, and all the dogs are playing and whatever on the grass, but Scully is sitting up by the road next to the car waiting for me!

New content today:

Market day and more Scully photos

Today was my first market day since June, and only the third day this year, following multiple COVID cancellations. I got up at 6:30 and went to collect my hire car after a quick breakfast, then drove it home to pick up all my stock and gear. I was at the market by about 7:30, and setting up my stall, ready to go by 8:30.

My market stall

Customers were starting to drift in already even though the market didn’t officially open until 9:00, so I thought it would be a good day – certainly better than June which was almost completely dead and I didn’t even recoup the cost of renting the stall space. I was hopeful people would be out and about and doing Christmas shopping, with our local COVID cases now reduced to zero for the past week. There were a good number of people, but honestly not as many as I’d been expecting or hoping for.

That Great Market

That photo was during a quiet period when I could wander from my stall for a few seconds. I made several sales, recouped all my expenses, and made a small profit, although honestly it didn’t work out to a great hourly rate. Nevertheless, it was good to make some money! And a couple of people asked me if I gave photography lessons, which I answered by saying I haven’t done so, but I would certainly consider doing it, and gave the inquirers a business card to contact me. So maybe that will lead to something.

I got home after unpacking the hire car and returning it about 15:30. It was a hot day, and I was exhausted, but my wife said Scully needed some exercise! So we went straight out to the park. And since she’d been groomed yesterday, I wanted to try to get some more photos of her running across the grass. So I took my camera and we encouraged her to run straight at me while I took photos.

Scully on the run

This one is the best pose I captured, but unfortunately she was still a bit far away from me and doesn’t fill the frame of the camera.

Scully on the run

This one’s much better at filling the frame, but the pose isn’t as good. And these are the best shots of about 60 or 70 that I took. It’s hard taking photos of animals in motion!

I am exhausted…

New content today:

Market eve

Tomorrow is market day – I have a stall again at The Great Market at East Lindfield. Last month’s market was cancelled because of forecast stormy weather, but tomorrow’s is definitely on.

I spent time today going through my checklist and collating all the gear I need to take, getting it set up in the garage, ready for loading into the hire car in the morning. I have to hire a care to take my stuff to the market because my own car isn’t big enough (which means another expense that I need to recoup). I also bagged some newly printed greeting cards in cellophane bags with envelopes, ready for sale. I’m hoping the cards sell really well with this market being the first one in a long time, and in the lead up to Christmas. I’d really like to sell some of the mated prints too, and I’d be ecstatic if I sold one of the large mounted prints.

We’ll see, and I’ll report tomorrow. I have to be up at 06:30 to have a quick breakfast (and make some sandwiches for lunch), pick up the hire care, then pack it, and drive to the market, then unpack and set up my stall, by 9 o’clock.

The other thing that happened today was Scully had an appointment with the dog groomer. It’s been six weeks since her last groom, and we’ve usually been doing it every five weeks, so she was getting a bit shaggier than we were used to.

I took photos immediately before and after the grooming:

Scully, before and after grooming

She’s almost two different dogs!

New content today:

Shimmering views

Today was another busy day for me and my fledgling photography business. My Etsy shop is going okay – I’ve had a dozen or so orders for greetings cards and have been mailing them out. But as I said yesterday, I want to expand my range and start offering matted prints ready to frame.

So today I went down to the garage and grabbed some of the stock I have printed for market stalls, and took some photos to set up some new items on Etsy. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because taking product photos requires good lighting, and it was a grey day here, and we don’t get a lot of natural light inside because of large trees near the windows – and indoor artificial lighting is often odd colour temperatures and very directional and harsh.

I ended up taking my stock outside and placing it on the ground under the open sky, and standing over it to take the photos looking straight down. Even then the results weren’t brilliant, because taking a photo of a photo naturally ends up with reduced image quality. So I took to Photoshop and made some mock-ups using a combination of photos of the matting boards that I’d taken outside and the original photos.

I ended up with something I could display and created a new item on Etsy. But given what I said yesterday about shipping to Australia versus internationally, at the moment it’s only available (and hence only visible, I believe) within Australia. I’m going to think about using a drop-shipping printer in the US and/or Europe to make these sort of prints available there too, but that’s a job for another day.

While I had my printed stock out, I took a bunch of photos of one of them for another purpose. Back when I was working for CiSRA (Canon Information Systems Research Australia), the last project I worked on was one to create 3D lighting effects of material surfaces. Some of my former team members decided to take their knowledge of the technology and form a start-up company to commercialise it (by re-implementing the systems from scratch in a non-intellectual-property-infringing manner). The company they’ve formed is Bandicoot Imaging. Check out in particular their demos of the Shimmer View technology and the materials gallery. This is imaging technology that I worked on!

What you need to do is take a bunch of photos from different angles, which are then combined into a material appearance model, which can be illuminated by a simulated light source from any angle. So I took some photos and uploaded them to their server, and produced a Shimmer View of one of my photos:

Mouse over it and you can control the motion, and also zoom in and out a bit. You can see the faint sheen of the semi-gloss satin finish of the photo paper, but there isn’t very much going on, unlike some of the fabric and leather textures in the demo gallery. But still, a nice effect.

New content today:

A post on postage

I’m planning to start offering larger prints of my photos on my Etsy shop, to supplement the greeting cards. The prints are 30×20 cm, matted with boards to a size of 40×30 cm, which fits a standard 16×12 inch picture frame. (It’s such a mess working with a mix of metric and Imperial measurements…)

To offer these for sale, I needed to know how much it would cost to package and ship them to potential buyers, so I could price them accordingly. There’s a place near me that does packing and shipping of stuff, so I went there to get a quote. They quoted me $20 to package a print, and $60 to ship it within Australia, or $96 to ship it to the US or Europe. I took the quote and thanked them for their assistance.

This seemed like an awful lot, so I checked Australia Post. They can ship package of this size within Australia for $26 by Express post, or just $19 by regular parcel post. And I’m sure I can pack a print with a few sheets of cardboard, taped up, to keep it safe and prevent it bending. So that seems a lot better.

The only issue is that this print size is just over the maximum dimensions for a package for Australia Post to ship overseas. And I mean just… the matting board itself is exactly the maximum possible size, but by the time I add packaging it will necessarily be a bit bigger.

So I think for now I’ll only be offering these for sale within Australia. I need to take some product photos and set up a new listing on Etsy, but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

New content today:


Today I didn’t do much worth reporting: Ethics class this morning, a smidgen of mid-week grocery shopping, and writing and producing some Darths & Droids strips.

But yesterday while I was out having lunch, I took a couple of photos on the theme of minimalism, for a specific theme week in a photography group that I post to occasionally.

Two yachts

I call that one “Two Yachts”. I took it at Fishermans Beach, in the suburb of Collaroy. This is the spot where I like to sit while I eat pies from my favourite pie shop. It’s a bit of a drive from my place, so I don’t go here as often as I’d like to enjoy the pies. Perhaps fortunately!

The second photo I took heading back to my car to drive home:

Blue minimalism

So I ended up not merely with a minimalism theme, but a “blue minimalism” theme.

New content today: