Start of the week, end of the week

It’s Monday, which is traditionally the start of the working week. However for me I treat it as the end of the week, because it’s the last day of teaching the current ethics topic on Outschool. I start the new topic on Wednesday (and on Tuesday I have no classes). So it was the end of the Wealth and Poverty topic. Honestly, it’s one I’m happy to see the end of, because it was a tough topic to navigate without making the questions too leading for the kids. By today I’d managed to mentally rearrange things to get the best out of it and make it flow better than my initial ordering, and I’d come up with some extra talking points and questions on the fly that I incorporated in later lessons.

I managed to sleep decently well last night. I did wake up a couple of times – I always do, I’m a light sleeper – but I managed to drift off again before the noise of the past two nights got into my head. It was there again, but I successfully defeated it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that again tonight. This evening I tried knocking on the neighbour’s door that I estimate to be the most likely source of the noise, but they didn’t answer. I’ll try again tomorrow during the day.

So I slept in this morning, not getting up until after 8 o’clock. That meant I didn’t have time for breakfast and making/kneading a sourdough loaf and going for my run before my first class at 10am. So I delayed the run until later in the day. My wife wanted to go to the gym during her lunch break (from working from home), so I took Scully out on a big walk and grabbed some lunch on the way.

It was pretty hot in the middle of the day, so I delayed my run until later. I eventually got to it about 6pm, when it had cooled down to 26°C, which is still really a bit warm for running.

During the afternoon I worked on assembling new Irregular Webcomic! strips for this week. I also made a D&D monster for the January challenge in my Outschool D&D group. I post a monthly design challenge for the kids in the group, and at the end of each month we share our designs. For January I suggested designing a hybrid creature monster, along the lines of the classic owlbear – melding together two unexpected animals. So here’s mine:

Sharkle stat block

New content today:

Bad sleep part 2

The noise kept me awake again last night. I went to sleep very tired, but woke up in the middle of the night again as I usually do. I almost managed to drift off again, but the buzzing noise was insistent and eventually won out. I went and got some earplugs, which successfully blocked the noise, but then I was aware of my breathing and my ears felt funny so again I didn’t manage to fall asleep. I gave up and got up a bit before 7am.

I will have to go ask neighbours if they’ve got any machines running all night. It might be something like a fan, being used for cooling in the warm humid nights. I had a problem with that some years ago when a neighbour had a fan running all night and it kept me awake. Trouble is it might be a bit late tonight now that I’ve reminded myself of it again.

Today I worked some more on the paper that I’m proofreading/editing. I got through about 2.5 pages.

For dinner I planned to make some red Thai curry, but instead of grabbing the red curry paste form the fridge, I grabbed laksa paste instead, and didn’t notice until I’d spooned it into the vegetables. So I guess we had laksa vegetables and rice?

New content today:

A bad sleep and a busy day

I had a very poor sleep last night. I woke up in the middle of the night – which is not unusual, I usually go back to sleep. But last night I could hear an intermittent buzzing, like someone’s phone was ringing on vibrate. It wasn’t in our place – it must have been a neighbouring apartment. But it didn’t stop. All night. If it had just stayed on, the buzz would have become a background noise and I probably would have fallen asleep just fine. But it kept going off and on again every few seconds, at a maddening interval. The result was I didn’t fall asleep again at all. So I got maybe 2 or 3 hours sleep?

If it repeats again tonight, I’m going to have to ask the neighbours about it and politely request they do something about it.

So anyway, I was pretty tired for most of the day. I managed to do my run, though with a comparatively slow time. I annotated the slides I’d made for the science class with my private student on Monday, and sent them off to her. I wrote and assembled a couple of Darths & Droids comics. And I started work on proofreading/editing that scientific paper that one of the university staff members has given to me. It’s very heavy going, and I’ve completed the first page of 13 that are in the formatted document.

Time to relax a bit this evening…

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Just doing lots of chores

Today was one of those day when you have intentions of getting things done, but you end up just running lots of little chores and not getting to anything you wanted to.

I went to the supermarket to pick up the groceries I’d ordered yesterday. Then back home I made some sourdough bread. My wife always asks me to make fruit and nut loaf, but I just want some bread that I can make a cheese sandwich with, so I rarely do it. But today I gave in and made bread with apricots and walnuts. I left it to rise outside on the balcony in the warmth of the day. It was a hotter day than we’ve been having recently, getting up to 30°C and very sunny.

I went for my 2.5k run. I took Scully in for a few hours of doggie daycare, because we had a bunch of things we needed to do that would be tricky juggling her as well. Then I had to help my wife return an office chair to her work and pick up a new chair. She’s working from home and picked up a chair last week for better posture than our dining chairs, but it wasn’t great, so wanted to swap it for a different one. I baked the loaf of bread after it had risen.

After lunch I went through some slides that the lecturer of the new data engineering course had made and wrote up some comments on them. And then before I knew it, it was time to do two ethics classes.

And then my wife and I went out for dinner. There’s a nice Szechuan restaurant near us that we used to go to sometimes, but we hadn’t been there since we got Scully, because they didn’t have any outdoor tables. But we walked past recently and they now have a couple of tables outside – probably a response to COVID. But it’s good for us because we can go there and take Scully. So we booked a table for tonight. I had my favourite dish, the chilli pepper prawns. Very spicy, but delicious.

And then back home, where it’s virtual board games night with the guys. I’ve already lost a couple of games of 7 Wonders, but I won a game of CuBirds.

New content today:

Golf aftermath

My forearms are sore, and also my glutes. They were a bit sore yesterday, following from golf on Tuesday, and have become a bit worse today. I expect they’ll start feeling better tomorrow – I hope so! It wouldn’t have been the round I played, which involved fairly gentle swings. It would have been the driving range afterwards, where I was smacking balls as hard as I could, and using muscles I don’t strain so often.

Today I have four ethics classes. Three down and one to go later this evening as I type. It’s interesting, in the six classes on this topic of “wealth” so far, almost all of the kids think it’s fine (both legally, and ethically) for wealthy people to keep all of their money to themselves – “because they earned it, because they had to work hard for it”. They all reiterate the story that anyone can become wealthy if they just work hard. It seems they don’t know that most wealthy people inherit their wealth, and don’t actually build it up from scratch with hard work. I guess their parents want to encourage them to work hard so they succeed, so they tell them that hard work and diligence lead to wealth.

Today I received the scientific paper from the university that I’m being asked to proofread and edit. It’s very technical, about image processing for text recognition, and it’s going to take some serious concentration to read understand, and then edit. My plan is to tackle it on the weekend when I have some time.

Doing a bit of tidying up, I ran across some old boxes of Wizards of the Coast Netrunner, vintage 1996. I have a bunch of sealed English starter decks, French starter decks, English v1.0 booster packs, French v2.0 booster packs, and English v2.1 Proteus booster packs.

Netrunner sealed packs

I’m thinking I’ll sell these on eBay… unless I find a buyer sooner. Let me know if that’s you.

New content today:

The ethics of wealth

Today is Australia Day, which is always a bit of a weird day. Ostensibly it’s a public holiday to celebrate Australia, our national day. But it’s always accompanied by news stories and opinion pieces on how it doesn’t represent the Aboriginal people, because the date chosen is when Europeans first arrived in Australia. So to many Australians, both Aboriginal and not, it feels wrong and even oppressive to celebrate today. Personally, I think this debate is going to rage on until the date is changed, and until that point it’s just going to feel more and more uncomfortable every year.

I spent most of the day working on the new week’s ethics class. I wrote the lesson, which is on the topic of wealth and poverty. And this evening I ran it three times in a row. I think this isn’t one of my best planned lessons, because the questions are maybe a bit too leading. I might try to revise it slightly tomorrow for future classes to encourage more diverse answers from the kids.

I also had to fill out a new police background check for Outschool, for their annual security update. It’s been a year since I signed up as a teacher on their site! It started slowly, but I’ve grown to offering 14 classes a week, and the ethics one is very popular.

New content today:

No work Tuesday

Tuesdays are the days when I don’t have any classes on Outschool to teach, so they’re good days for me to go do other things. My golf friend suggested we go play at the pitch and putt course this morning. I got up early (6:30) and went straight out for my run, to get it out of the way before heading off to play golf. It was nice and cool that early, but my muscles obviously hadn’t warmed up after a night asleep and I didn’t do a very good time.

After breakfast, I headed out to the golf course. It was an overcast day, and rained a little as I drove there, but the rain held off for the rest of the day.

Overcast golf day

I scored 75, which was okay, but not as good as my best 71 on this course last time. Afterwards I went to the driving range next door to hit a bucket of balls. I started with a 9 iron and I was hitting the ball to the 100 metre marker, which I’m pretty happy with. I’m still finding my strength with full swings. I don’t think I’ve ever hit a 9 iron that far on an actual course. Then I switched to the driver and practised that for a while. It was a bit more erratic, but more consistent than I’ve been before, and I hit a few into the netting which is at 180 metres, but most didn’t quite reach that far.

After that I drove over to the pie shop at Collaroy for lunch. I sat and ate on a bench looking out over the beach. It’s usually a nice view, but was a bit grey with the overcast, and the surf was a bit brown with all the recent rain.

Later in the afternoon I relaxed a bit at home. For dinner I made pizza with mixed mushrooms. I decided to try hand stretching the dough to make the base instead of rolling it out, to see what difference that would make. And it turned out amazing! The rolled bases are very even, but hand stretching it made it thinner in the middle and puffier around the crust. So the centre cooked thin and crispy, and bubbled up like a proper pizzeria pizza. The difference was amazing, and my wife agreed it was much better than the rolled versions we’ve been having. So I guess from now on I’ll be hand stretching our pizza bases.

New content today:

The Wordle variant bandwagon

Like nearly everyone else, my friends and I have been playing Wordle and comparing notes each day. We were discussing the various variants that have popped up across the net, and someone suggested we should try to make a quantum version of it.

Lo and behold, a few hours later one of my friends had implemented Schrödle. It’s not available on a website – he implemented it as a game on our Discord bot. But here’s a (edited) screencap:

Schrödle game 1

The green/yellow/white marks describe a superposition of two different words. It’s possible for each letter to be white/white (present in neither word), white/yellow (present in one word, but in a different position), white/green (present in one word, in the correct position), yellow/yellow (present in both words, but in a different position for each), yellow/green (present in both words, in the correct position for one but not the other), or green/green (present in both words, in the correct position for both).

Eventually you guess one word correctly, at which point the wavefunction collapses, and the second word vanishes into the ether. And the cool thing is he implemented it with arbitrary word lengths:

Schrödle game 2

So after that quick implementation, we’ve been playing it all afternoon. Before you ask, I don’t think my friend has any plans to make a web implementation.

In other news, I set a new best time for my 2.5k run today: 12:03! I’ve set myself the goal of breaking 12 minutes. I thought it might take most of the year, but who knows… maybe I can get there by the end of January.

I spent some time today putting together the last in my series of private science lessons for a student on Outschool. She’s been homeschooling, but is starting up regular school this week, so her mother said they’d need to concentrate on that for a bit until they figure out if their schedule allows continuing with Outschool. It’s a bit sad because she’s been a great student, but hopefully school will give her more socialising and learning opportunities.

New content today:

Planning travel for 2023

I got an email this morning, from the convener of the ISO Photography standards committee, requesting feedback on a planning issue. We have a plenary meeting every two years, in which all of the different working groups get together for one big meeting. (Normally the digital photography and the other groups meet separately a few times a year each.) Anyway, the 2021 plenary was planned for Japan, but never happened because of COVID, and so it was decided to hold a plenary in 2022 in Japan – but now that has also been cancelled due to ongoing COVID travel issues. So now Japan is beginning planning to host a plenary meeting in 2023.

To this end, the email I got today asked me to fill in a form indicating which weeks were more or less convenient for me to attend. There was a list of 9 different weeks, ranging from the end of April to the end of June. And the request was to rate them all from A (most preferred) to E (least preferred). A 5 point scale!

I looked at my calendar for April-June 2023…. and surprisingly enough, it’s completely empty. So honestly it makes no difference whatsoever what week they choose. I even checked when the school holidays are, because it’s less convenient to travel when school is out, due to more families wanting to travel, but the nine weeks they picked line up exactly with the 9 weeks of second term, so there’s not even that to make any difference.

What else…? My wife and I did a long walk with Scully this morning. We started out and it was sunny. I put on sunscreen, and a hat, and sunglasses. But by the time we got home it was raining. It’s been a ridiculous summer, and there’s no sign of the rain and humidity going away.

New content today:

Nothing important happened today

There’s really not a huge amount to say about today. I slept in a bit after a late night last night playing games online with friends. I had breakfast, went for my run, did stretching exercises, had a shower, then got stuck into writing and making some new Darths & Droids comics. I got stuck with writer’s block for a few hours.

I took Scully for a walk when my wife went to the gym. I cooked baked Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and carrots for dinner, with a chilli garlic miso glaze.

And that was kind of my day. I think I’m a bit tired still from the late night. My plan is to relax a bit this evening and just watch some TV – something I hardly ever do.

New content today: