Finishing the filming

It’s Saturday, and the first day of what is effectively a four-day weekend, since my wife has taken Monday off work and Tuesday is Australia Day.

I started with some housecleaning, doing the vacuuming. I was planning to go for a run for some exercise, but when my wife got back in after taking Scully out first thing in the morning, she said it was already really hot outside. South-east Australia is experiencing heatwave conditions this weekend, and we could certainly feel it soon after sunrise. So I nixed that idea for another day.

I drove my wife to yoga class, and later in the day I took Scully for a drive to the pet shop, so we could get out of the house and do some walking around, without being out in the sun. Scully likes to sniff and explore all the nooks and crannies in the pet shop, so it’s a good place to go when the weather isn’t good for outdoor walks. And it’s inside a small shopping complex with a lot of furniture and homewares shops, so there’s plenty of other places to walk around too.

This evening, after dinner, we all went down to the harbour to film the remaining shots of my Outschool video, which I began filming on Thursday. I wanted to do the intro and ending by the water, with the city and the Opera House visible behind me. The area there down by the water is often busy, and there were a lot of people down there today having picnic dinners, or just walking along the waterfront. So I had a lot of curious onlookers as my wife filmed me reciting my lines. Hopefully there are some good takes and I can cut the video together in the next few days.

New content today:

New golf club test

This morning I played golf with my golfing friend at my local course, and I tried using the full set of clubs gifted to me by my neighbour (mentioned previously here). It turns out they’re a very nice set of clubs, newer and with more modern design than mine. They’re not the latest and greatest, but definitely a lot better than the clubs I was using.

Unfortunately, I failed to make the best use of them today. I messed up the first few holes and very quickly assured that I wouldn’t be producing any personal best total score today. However my luck changed on the par-4 7th hole, when I sank a chip from off the green, for a par. That was good – the first time I’ve ever scored par on that hole. I bogeyed the next two holes, which was good because I’m still at the stage where a bogey is a good personal score. So overall it wasn’t great but at least I ended the round of 9 on a high note.

I also baked a sourdough loaf today. But I forgot to put any salt in the dough, and it turned out… different. Definitely a different taste to normal and what you expect from bread. It was strange, but not actually bad. Although next time I’ll definitely try to remember the salt.

Most of the rest of the day I spent writing Darths & Droids strips. It’s amazing how you churn through them publishing three per week.

New content today:

Filming a teacher intro

Today was busy! First off the bat, I needed to go do the weekly grocery shopping. I’m planning to play golf tomorrow with a friend in the morning, so my usual Friday morning expedition to the supermarket won’t be possible. And later in the day gets busy, which I want to avoid. So today it was.

After that, I’d arranged to meet another friend late morning to do some video filming. I want to make a teacher introduction video for Outschool, and I had the idea to film some of it at Sydney University, since that’s where I studied for my degrees. Unfortunately I had a problem when I got my microphone out, because the battery had leaked, so I had to clean that up before leaving home. My friend bought me a new battery and we met up to head to the university and film segments in front of the main Quadrangle and the Physics building.

This took us about an hour, and it was hot work because it was very warm and we were out in the midday sun. After finishing that, we we went to The Pie Tin for some pies for lunch. I had a Reuben pie and a truffled chicken and mushroom. Excellent as always from this pie shop, but with two pies I was extremely full afterwards, and planned on a relatively light dinner tonight.

This afternoon was less busy, with some going over the video we’d filmed to determine the best takes of each shot, code debugging, and thinking about what topic I can do for my first class on Outschool. I need to think of a topic that I can cover in a single class, because they recommend a one-off class for new teachers – obviously because parents might want to try just a single class rather than signing up for a semester long course with a teacher with no reviews.

I’m considering doing colour perception, because it’s both interesting and it’s a topic that nobody else on Outschool is teaching yet. If I did something like “astronomy”, then I’d be competing with dozens of other people doing the same or similar material. So I might work up a colour perception class over the next few days and get that ready for when I complete my intro video.

New content today:

Acronymble, Acro Quick

This morning I had to take the car to a service centre to get it inspected for roadworthiness, prior to renewing the registration. They told me it would take 30-45 minutes, but I ended up waiting for well over an hour. I did take a short walk a couple of blocks to the hardware store to look around and see if there was anything I needed to buy, but I didn’t find anything and that only took about 20 minutes, so I just had to sit around and wait.

Back home, I spent some time helping a friend debug a new Discord game he’s working on. It’s a word game in which players are given a short series of random letters, and a topic prompt, and then have to backform a phrase to fit the letters as an initialism. Examples from actual testing we did:

Disney Movie: DDHM

Answers: Dumbo Drops His Mixtape; Donald Duck Hates Mice

One (non-contributing) player then chooses the best response from the suggestions and the person who submitted it gets a point. The judge role then rotates and you go again. A fairly simple game, and we got the code to a state where we could play it in just a few hours.

In between I worked on writing and making some new Darths & Droids comics. And that was about it.

New content today:

India win the series

Today was all about the cricket. It was the final day of the fourth and final Test match in the current Australia v India series. Australia won the first game in Adelaide an absolute walkover. In their second innings India were dismissed for just 36 runs – their lowest ever innings total in history. After the game, India’s captain and best player Virat Kohli flew home to India to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, leaving the team in the hands of his vice captain. Having suffered a huge loss, and losing their best player, India were behind the 8-ball.

In the second game in Melbourne, India pulled together, recomposed themselves, and… well, demolished Australia. They won handily, levelling the series at 1 game each.

Then in the third match, played in Sydney last week, India were again struggling. They had lost several players due to injury, and were fielding young, inexperienced backups. Australia dominated the first four days, and set India a massive target of 407 runs to win in the final innings. I recounted that last day of play when it happened. To recap: India didn’t score the runs, but they managed to hold on and not get out before the game ran out of time, thus drawing the game. This left the series at 1-1, with a deciding game to come.

The fourth and final game began last Friday, in Brisbane. Australia batted first and scored 369. India the batted, and were looking in danger of falling far short, but managed to scrape together 336 runs, conceding a lead of 33. Australia then added 294 runs in the second innings. This set India a target of 328 to win. This is a big score, and very difficult to get in the last innings of a game, when the pitch is starting to dry out and crumble, and batting becomes more and more difficult.

To put it into perspective, the highest ever successful final innings run chase at Brisbane was 236 runs, scored by Australia against the West Indies in 1951, followed by 219 by Australia v West Indies in 1975, and the remainder are all below 200. A team scoring 328 or more to win a game in the final innings has only happened 18 times anywhere in the world in Test cricket history (since 1877). Furthermore, Australia has been unbeatable in Brisbane for over 3 decades, not losing a game there since 1988.

Furthermore, India had ended play yesterday having scored just 4 of these runs. So to win they needed to score 324 runs in one day. Scoring 300 runs in one day is considered a good scoring rate. 324 is very fast. Doable early in a game when the pitch is new, but extremely difficult on a final day with the pitch wearing out. Australia, for its part, needed to get 10 Indian batsmen out to win. In this game situation, the smart money would be on the bowling team to get the batsmen out and win the game. Anyone betting on India would be betting on wild hope, whereas betting on Australia should be easy money.

Well, I may have set the situation up too well for you, because you can probably guess what happened. This battered, bruised, young, inexperienced, captainless Indian team stuck it out all day. The batsmen stubbornly refused to get out, and slowly accumulated runs. At lunch, one-third of the way through the day, they had added 79 runs, for a total of 83, but lost only one wicket. They had 9 men left, but a mountainous 245 more runs to score. At this stage, I thought the most likely result was a draw, the game ending before either team could force victory.

At the tea break, 2/3 of the way through the day, India were 3 men out for 183 runs. Still 145 runs short. It was looking impossible for either team to have enough time to win. But Rishabh Pant, India’s wicketkeeper, had other ideas. Rather than try to survive and ensure India didn’t lose, he started hitting the ball all around the ground, accelerating the run scoring.

The final hours of the game were a tense, nail-biting whirlwind. Pant was taking crazy risks, hitting the ball in the air, several times just wide of fielders who might have taken a catch. If he got out, the remaining batsmen would be those in the team for their bowling skills, not specialist batsmen, and could not be relied on to survive. Pant was playing with fire. But he was doing it masterfully. Just before the end, two of the other batsmen got out, and India were dangerously exposed to a sudden dramatic failure. If another one got out, it would be up to Pant and an inexperienced, poor batsman to prevent India from losing. But still Pant added runs.

Until with just a few balls remaining in the game, Pant hit the ball through the fielders for the final, winning runs. India had pulled off a miracle victory against all odds. Not only to win this game, but to win the series 2-1.

With several senior players out of the team for various reasons, the burden fell on a group of fresh young players, the next generation of Indian cricketers. They defeated a full strength Australia, always one of the strongest teams in the world and virtually impossible to beat at home. This will be a victory that Indians will remember for many years. And the future success of their team looks in good hands for the next decade or so.

New content today:

Dog day day

Today Scully spent the whole day in doggie daycare. I took her over a bit after 8am, and my wife and I picked her up just after 5pm. She really enjoys playing with all the other dogs there, and it’s good socialisation for her. And she loves the staff too. She’s always so excited when we arrive, leaping about and running up to the staff.

And when she gets home she’s super tired and basically just goes into an evening nap straight away. So you can tell she’s been super active all day.

I spent most of the day doing some coding, for a quiz thing I wanted to run with some friends. So there’s not too much to say about most of the day.

New content today:

Vatican City failures

My wife and I moved on to Vatican City in our ongoing Codenames Duet campaign game. Things are getting pretty difficult now. We had two attempts at it but failed to win both times. The games were tense and brain-busting.

Otherwise, it was a fairly relaxing day. We took Scully for a nice long walk in the morning.

I watched some cricket… India batted well all day and ended up on 336 runs, just 33 runs behind Australia’s first innings. With two days left to go, it’s going to be difficult for any team to force a win, especially given the forecast rainy weather. It may well be that India has done enough to avoid losing the game, instead forcing another draw, which will draw the 4-game series 1-1. And since they currently hold the Australia-India series trophy, they’ll retain it. Probably.

New content today:

Too much nutmeg

I’m really not sure about nutmeg. I cook a fair bit, and I have some nutmeg in the spice rack, but I never use it much. Because honestly I don’t think I like the flavour. It’s kind of earthy and woody and camphorous and resiny. Looking at some online information, nutmeg is described as a “warm and sweet” spice. “Warm and sweet” sounds like cinnamon, which I love. But nutmeg is nothing like cinnamon. It’s like the promise of something delightful, which then gets cruelly ripped away, leaving exposed the sham that is nutmeg.

I just made a simple semolina porridge as an after-dinner dessert. Normally I have this with cinnamon and brown sugar, and it’s delicious. Today I thought I’d expand my spice usage and add a dash of nutmeg…

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

It’s like what I imagine eating sandalwood, or mothballs, would be like. Bitter and nasty. I dunno… maybe the nutmeg has been sitting in a jar so long it’s gone off? But honestly the taste is pretty much what I remember nutmeg to taste like from past experience. Just stronger… maybe I just added too much? Anyway…. nutmeg is definitely no cinnamon.

Apart from poisoning myself, mostly today I did housework and little cleaning tasks, with a bit of comics work in between, but not much to speak of.

New content today:

Fragmented day

So, today I did grocery shopping, and took down the Christmas decorations, and baked two loaves of sourdough – one for us and one for the downstairs neighbour – and then I had a Zoom meeting to go through some of the teaching procedures on Outschool as part of my preparation for beginning teaching on the site. In between this, I managed to make one new Darths & Droids strip… and that’s about it.

I went out with my wife and Scully for a nice dinner at our favourite seafood restaurant. That was very nice as usual. And now it’s fortnightly Games Night with my friends. I’ve just played 7 Wonders, and Marrakech, and waiting for another game to finish with half the group so we can start something else…

New content today:

Learning to drive

I didn’t mention yesterday when talking about my neighbour’s offer to give me some of her late husband’s golf gear, that she told me to take whatever I wanted to test it out first. I took the driver (the biggest, long distance club, for use in teeing off) on a test run today, playing a round at my local course.

The first hit I tried flew an impressively long way, but sliced badly, ending up in some trees. I corrected my grip for the next hole, and was blown away by how far and how straight the ball flew off the tee. I had a couple more marginal drives, but by the time I reached the 7th hole I was hitting the ball much cleaner and further than I’d ever managed with my own driver. I hit the tee shot on the 7th and it was without a doubt the best distance shot I’ve yet played. The hole curves slightly to the left around heavy forest, and my drive skimmed the inside of the curve within spitting distance of the trees, flying straight and true. I made a map of today’s drive compared to where I’d previously managed to hit the tee shot on this hole:

Hole 7

And then for good measure on the next hole I hit an even sweeter drive:

Hole 8

Wow. I’m just blown away by the difference this new, modern driver makes. The lesson I had a while ago also helped a lot, as I now have the basic knowledge of how to use this club effectively. So I’ll be happy to accept this gift from my neighbour. I started making dough today for a batch of sourdough which I’ll bake tomorrow, and take a loaf down for her.

I played early in the morning, and was home by 9:30. I had a shower, since it was already hot. The weather has turned from the cool and rainy of the last month to hot and sunny more typical of summer in the past few days. I thought my excursions were done for the day and planned to relax at home in the cool of the air conditioning.

Until my wife called at lunchtime and reminded me that I had agreed yesterday to go to her office and pick up Scully… So I had to venture out for a hot and sweaty walk to bring Scully home. And then I figured I may as well take her to the dog park later in the afternoon. The walk that the regulars do there along the waterfront has a final section which we call “The Gobi Desert”, because it so exposed and hot in hot weather. Normally we brave the heat of the Gobi Desert, but today everyone stopped short and turned back early.

So yeah, I’ve had another shower tonight.

New content today: