New pastry

Friday was online games night, so I neglected to write a blog post. There’s not a lot to say anyway – I’ve bene busy working on my secret project and doing online ethics classes.

I’ve also been organising a visit to my aunt, who is in a nursing home in Germany. We have some time before my ISO meetings in Cologne to visit Würzburg, where my aunt lives. I got contact details of the nursing home from my cousin and emailed to see if we could visit. They wrote back saying it would be fine, but there are some COVID safety rules we need to follow, including getting a test before going there. So I’ve been looking at where we can do that, as well as booking a hotel. I also need to work out train trips from the airport and so on.

Tonight for dinner I made quiche. I’ve been making the pastry using plain flour, but a few days ago I happened to see a Jamie Oliver cooking show where he was making pastry, and he said to use strong flour. So today I tried making it with bread flour. The pastry ended up less crumbly and held together better. I think it was a better result for quiche, whereas the plain flour one would be better for a fruit tart or something where you want a crumblier pastry.

New content today:

Almost too late for an update

I got home late from my university teaching class tonight, and want to go to bed.

My train home skipped my stop, despite the display board on the platform when I boarded saying it would stop there. So I had to walk back home from the next station, which is a longer walk.

New content today:

More rain, more running

I’ve been slacking a little with my exercise, so I made sure to do a 2.5k run today. The last couple I’ve done have been slow, getting up to 12:30, so today I pushed myself hard trying to get a better time and was happy with the result of 11:52.

I did it in between some heavy showers of rain, which have been sweeping across the city all day. We’re in yet another rainy spell – it’s rained every day for the past week now. Although the falls haven’t been as heavy as we had a month or so ago, just a few millimetres every day.

I was back at the school this morning for my face-to-face ethics class. The class was… astonishingly well behaved today. It was quite eerie really. I think I only had to ask some kids to stop having a private chat and pay attention once, which is amazing. They were almost spookily quiet. Which was nice, but on the negative side, it seemed like not as many of them were actually keen to raise their hands and discuss the questions we were talking about. Most of the answering was being done by just two of the girls, while everyone else was just sitting there silently.

Next week’s class is cancelled due to a teacher’s strike that has been called for next Wednesday. Even if that hadn’t happened (or is called off at the last minute), the school had planned to have its cross country carnival that day, so there’d be no class anyway. So I have next week off from that.

New content today:

Ethics of gambling

I began the ethics of gambling lessons today. It was interesting. One class had pretty much all of the four students agreed on the premise that gambling is inherently bad, while another class mostly agreed that gambling is just a thing that people do, and it’s only a problem if people do it too much or take advantage of people by gambling unfairly.

One student told an amusing anecdote about his father, who used to work in a casino. I shouldn’t say more for privacy reasons, but it had the other students giggling.

New content today:

Anzac long weekend Monday

Today was the Anzac Day public holiday, although it didn’t make much difference to my day, as I had ethics classes online as usual. We finished up the topic on contact with extraterrestrial life. I started writing the lesson for tomorrow’s new topic, which is gambling. I mentioned during a class this morning that next week’s topic is gambling, and we’ll be talking about betting on sports—

At which point a student interrupted and said, “That’s not gambling! Gambling is like blackjack and stuff!”

So… maybe it’ll be an interesting topic for some of the kids. I guess they don’t have a lot of experience with actual gambling at their age.

There was a bit of housecleaning work and cooking and baking bread today, and some work on the secret project, and walking Scully, and that was about it.

New content today:

Evolutionary Sunday

Today I had another science lesson online with the girl who has been taking those intermittently. Last time we began talking about evolution, and today was the second half of that topic. I prepared some slides showing the Galapagos Islands, Charles Darwin, finch beaks, hybridisation (lions and tigers crossbreeding to produce ligers), induced speciation in fruit flies, evolution of apes, and whales, and horses, and something about the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. It was a fun class and the student seemed to really enjoy it.

The weather here has turned slightly chilly as we get deep into autumn and start thinking about winter. We’ve had nice sunny days, although with some overnight rain just to keep things damp, but the maximum temperatures have been in the low 20s Celsius, which is noticeably cooler than the past months. And the nights have been getting quite chilly, down around 14°C, which feels like a big change from the overnight lows of 18°C we were getting a few weeks ago. 18°C is comfortable – I was taking Scully out around 10pm for her final toilet in just shorts and a T-shirt, but now I’m having to wear long pants and a jacket to do it.

We took Scully for another walk and ball chasing episode just after lunch, this time down to the nearest ferry wharf and the secluded adjacent park. The park is in a bowl-shaped hollow leading down to the water, so it took some care throwing the tennis ball so that it wouldn’t roll down into the harbour.

Um. I guess it wasn’t an especially interesting day, apart from thinking about evolution a bit.

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Comics catch-up Friday/Saturday

Friday night was online games night with my friends, so I didn’t have time to write a blog post. We played a new game: Heckin’ Hounds. It took a bit of grappling with the rules (which were not laid out very well – “a triumph of flavour over substance,” as one of my friends put it) to understand what was going on. It’s a very weird trick-taking card game, which feels like the designer basically took the idea of a trick-taking game and decided to do everything the opposite way for the heck of it (no pun intended). There’s no following suits, there’s a pseudo-trump suit mechanism which doesn’t actually affect the ranking of the suits, there’s a bidding mechanism which accumulates between hands (so if you bid high one one hand, you can make up for it by bidding low on the next hand), and you don’t even get to look at your own hand! Instead you get to see everyone else’s hand of cards, but when it comes time for you to play a card on a trick, you’re basically picking partially at random from your own hand with limited knowledge.

It sounds and is very strange, but somehow it comes together and was fairly playable, although I’m not sure how often we’ll want to return to it. We played a few of our regular games too.

On Friday and also today I worked mostly on getting ahead with comic production, both Irregular Webcomic! and Darths & Droids. I also did some more work on the secret project today. This is a project that will come to fruition some time in the next few months, so you will see it before too long.

My wife and I took Scully on a long walk today – the first one for a while. We walked down to the ferry wharf, via the coastal bushwalk track, which is a nice walk. The day was very pleasant, with fluffy white clouds and blue sky, not too warm, not too cool. This in-between seasons weather is really very nice, when it’s not raining. The track was a bit muddy from the recent rain though.

New content yesterday:

New content today:

Unexpected shower and bath

The morning was fine today. I had my first two online ethics classes this morning after my week-long break. Then I worked on assembling some of the large batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I photographed yesterday.

At lunch I took Scully for a long walk, intending to give her some ball chasing time to run around and burn off some energy. It was clouding over a little and I took an umbrella just in case…

By the time we got to the grassy area by the water, it had started sprinkling. Scully chased the ball a few times and the rain got heavier. It was also very windy and the rain was coming in at a steep angle. Scully got very wet, and even with the umbrella I got fairly wet too. Here’s Scully shaking some of the water off:

Poodle on a rainy day

As soon as we got home, I decided to just give her a bath and clean her off, since she was soaked anyway. Now at least she’s nice and clean.

This evening was the next lecture in the data engineering course at university. I dropped Scully off at my wife’s work and caught the train in. I was early enough to grab dinner at a ramen place – a much better one than the one I’d eaten at several weeks ago. It was very nice.

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Big comics day

Today was all about making Irregular Webcomic! strips. I wanted to get a big batch of comics written and photographed – enough to last a few weeks of updates without me having to scramble to make a few comics every few days, so I can relax a bit, and plan out the next big batch before having to make more. It’s much more efficient to do a big batch every few weeks than to do 5 per week, but I’d been in a cycle of not enough time for the past several weeks, and so ended up doing it inefficiently.

I took some time out to take Scully out while I grabbed some sushi and then some gelato for lunch.

And really, that’s about it for today! Oh, good news is that my sore back is recovering well. It was stiff yesterday, but not too sore, and today is easing up and moving more freely. So it seems to be healing up with no complications or additional muscle strains.

New content today:

Kitchen cleaning

Today was a beautiful day – I think the last gasp of summer. We’ve had four days in a row with no rain. That hasn’t happened since mid-February, over two months ago. And the temperature got warmer over those days, reaching 29.2°C today.

However, I say it’s the last gasp, because a storm is closing in tonight and the next seven days are forecast to be cooler and rainy every day. EDIT: I realised with the storm about to hit here any second, today won’t be a rainless day, meaning we’ve only had three days in a row of no rain.

incoming storm radar image

More housework today. I cleaned off all the kitchen counters of all the clutter (breakfast cereal, chopping boards, pasta containers, knife block, toaster, kettle, bottle of wine, hand-held vacuum cleaner, microwave oven, placemats, water filter jug, box of chocolates, dog treat containers, phone chargers, paper recycling bag, etc, etc, etc…) and cleaned it all of crumbs and dust. I scrubbed the cooktop clean, wiped the splashback tiles, cleaned the rangehood, and wiped clean all the vertical surfaces – cupboard doors and the oven. And then cleaned the floor.

I’ve been meaning to do this job for too long, and am glad I finally got it done today.

I took Scully for a couple of walks, including one to the mailbox to post a greeting card to someone who bought one on my Etsy shop. And worked on some comics and some secret project.

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