Busy comic Monday

I spent most of today knuckled down making a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. I started photographing immediately after breakfast, then had a break of 2 hours while I taught a couple of online ethics classes, then picked it up again. I finished just before 1 pm, when I had to go pick up Scully from my wife’s office.

I took Scully for a walk to the new bakery at Naremburn, where I had a pie for lunch. They also had a very nice looking banoffee tart, which I tried for a dessert.

Banoffee tart

It was really good!

After my wife got home from work I went for a run in the cool of the evening, completing another 2.5 km. I’m definitely finding that doing it nearly every day means I’m less likely to to just be lazy and miss an entire week of exercise!

New content today:

Soggy soggy Sunday

It rained most of the day. I considered going for a run and just getting wet, but in the end decided a day off would be acceptable.

Mostly today I wrote this new batch of Irregular Webcomic! scripts, which I’ve completed quite late in the evening, ready for photographing tomorrow. I need to get the first one completed by update time tomorrow, because the buffer is alarmingly empty.

New content today:

Completely rewritten plans for Saturday

My Saturday was planned to be completely about writing Irregular Webcomic! strips in order to photograph a new batch of comics on Monday. But that all changed when I checked my email in the morning.

There was a newsletter from Outschool for teachers, and it announced a new type of class that we can start teaching: Groups. These are essentially social groups with the teacher as leader and moderator, guiding enrolled students by providing tasks, answers, comments, and feedback to students who are sharing their work. It’s done in a forum style, with no live Zoom sessions. Students enrol on a monthly basis, giving them access to the forum and teacher for that time.

I realised this is the perfect format for a group all about running roleplaying games and writing adventures for them, with learning goals based on social skills, problem solving, and exercising creativity. So in order to get in as early as possible and hopefully get a big share of students interested in this, I spent all day today writing a class outline for the group. And to submit it for listing, I also had to create header and banner images, and three videos – one for parents, one for students, and one as a welcome when students sign up. This was a lot of work, and pretty much took me the whole day up to when we had to depart for dinner.

We had a booking for dinner at a slightly fancy pizza/Italian place about 20 minutes drive away. It’s a nice place that we’ve been to a few times, and we thought it would make a good ending to our wedding anniversary week, since we didn’t manage to have a nice dinner on the actual day.

New content today:

Friday evening games night report

My Friday evening was busy with gaming night with my friends – still meeting online, though we may do a live gathering soon now that COVID restrictions have been lifted. We played games of So Clover, Azul, Coloretto, Incan Gold, and Sketchful.

Earlier in the day I did another 2.5k run, trying to keep up this strange idea of exercising not just once a week but more frequently. And I worked more on the course outlining for the university data engineering course. And ran a couple more Outschool classes on the topic of online product reviews for kids. I think I’ve found a better groove with this topic, and it’s working out better than the first day on Wednesday. The kids are generally pretty savvy about online stuff, and they have a sense of when to be suspicious. Several of them have mentioned that people could fake reviews, and there may be bots posting fake reviews. Most have said that they feel that deliberately posting false reviews is serious enough to be considered a crime.

Oh, and I wrote up a new review for Snot Block & Roll! I haven’t been travelling far enough in recent months to visit any new bakeries, but I spotted a new one opened within walking distance last week, and tried it out this week.

New content today:

Engineering some data

It was rainy today. I planned to take Scully to the dog park in the afternoon, but I know she doesn’t enjoy it when it’s cold and wet. If the temperature had been a bit warmer, I would still have taken her, but I don’t want her shivering in the cold.

I did another run this morning, 2.5k. I figure if I can try to do at least that much every weekday, then that’s probably a good start to getting some exercise and fitness.

The main thing I did today was work on the curriculum outlining for the university data engineering course that will be held in first semester of 2022. We’re at the stage of breaking each week’s lecture down into individual slides related to the subtopics within that week. The lecturer and I have taken about half the weeks each to break down like this, so I have about 4 or 5 to do. I completed two of them today, and wrote a brief note on one of the other.

For dinner I made a special treat: pasta with tomato sauce and burrata.

Pasta with tomato sauce and burrata

I actually split the burrata in two and shared it with my wife. Very decadent!

New content today:

Considering online product reviews

Last week, the day after my 3.2k run I was very stiff and sore, with my legs protesting at the exercise after so long without doing any. Today, after yesterday’s 5k run, I felt pretty good. Good enough to go for another run! I didn’t go as far this time though, just doing 2.4k along the first and last part of my street route, cutting out the middle section where the nastiest hills are. In previous bouts of running, I really only did one run a week, but I figure this time I’m going to try to at least a little bit on most days if I can. Maybe that will get me into a habit that sticks better.

The work part of the day was writing the new week’s online ethics class. This week the topic is online product reviews. I want to get the kids thinking about whether they are good things or not, how reliable and trustworthy they might or might not be, and how people should evaluate them. I’m also raising the whole question of whether a company like Google should be allowed to host reviews of unaffiliated businesses, and whether they should be held liable for false negative reviews that might adversely affect another business.

This evening I taught the class with my first three sessions of students. And… I don’t think it went down as well as I’d hoped. Maybe the topic is not that exciting or interesting for the kids. Ah well… I guess they can’t all be hits. Hopefully it will improve – it usually does as I adapt dynamically to what the students say during the classes as the week progresses.

In the afternoon I made a couple of Darths & Droids strips. I’m way behind on buffers for both this and Irregular Webcomic! due to how busy I’ve been recently, and need to spend time rebuilding completed work into the future. However my plan for tomorrow is to work on the curriculum planning for the revised Data Engineering course that I’m working on for next semester at the university. I really need to get cracking on that!

New content today:

Dental Tuesday

Today I had an appointment at the dentist for a regular clean and checkup. Except it was over 6 months overdue, because dentists weren’t doing anything but emergency work during Sydney’s COVID lockdowns, so it was impossible to get a routine appointment.

The hygienist was very pleased with my teeth and gums, which was good news after so long. It’s the second time I’ve seen this hygienist, who is relatively new at the practise, and I’m really happy with the way she works. The previous one was nice enough, but very heavy handed with the probing tool and it always hurt my gums a lot more.

This morning I shook the cobwebs off with a run. I wanted to get a 5k run under my belt after the past two weeks of building up the distance again with 2.5 and then 3.2. Knowing the 5k route that I’ve been doing earlier this year is rather hilly, I decided to go up to the sports oval near the hospital and just do laps. It’s more boring and less scenic, but it’s flat, and so easier to complete the distance without feeling like you’re dying on the uphill bits. I was hoping to complete the 5k in under 30 minutes, but ended up clocking 30:16. Hopefully I can get times under 30 minutes again by next week.

In between all this and picking up Scully from my wife’s work, then dropping her back during my dentist appointment, and picking her up again on the way home, I wrote some comics and helped some more university students with their image processing final projects. I also had a Zoom call with several family members, including my elderly aunt in Germany. And I made calzones for dinner. Phew!

And took this photo looking under the railway bridge near my place. The jacaranda trees are beautifully in bloom, right on cue for November.

Through the railway bridge

New content today:

Low key anniversary

Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. We’d planned, a couple of years ago, to take a big trip to Europe, and spend our anniversary somewhere nice – maybe Venice or Vienna or something. And have a really fancy dinner at a good restaurant.

Well, thanks COVID. Of course we’re just sitting at home. And tonight I had the last tutorial session of the UTS image processing course that I’m helping teach, so we couldn’t even go out for dinner. My wife took the day off work, and I tried to book a fancy restaurant for lunch. I tried about a dozen top class restaurants in Sydney, but not a single one of them opens for business on Mondays. So in the end I chose a nice, but not really fancy, restaurant close to home, so we could just walk there. It’s actually the same restaurant that we ate in the night before we got married, and we’ve had a few anniversary dinners there, so it was kind of fitting to revisit it for this anniversary.

Apart from that, my day was rather hectic. I did the last online ethics class of the week on the topic of enhancing sports performance. I scrambled to make a new Irregular Webcomic! strip in time for tonight’s update. And I dealt with a lot of questions from students about the final project for the image processing course. They were asking stuff right up to the last minute of the scheduled tutorial time tonight.

At least tomorrow should be a bit less busy.

New content today: