What did I do today?

Let’s see. I picked up the groceries this morning. I went for a run. I drove out to pick up my wife and Scully when they got caught in the rain on the way home from the dog groomer.

Oh, I prepared character sheets for the players in the roleplaying game that I’m going to run next week. I made a sheet template and then filled it in with stats, skills, advantages, flows, equipment, and character sketches that the players had chosen. They got to adjust some skill scores, which just took a few minutes. So they’re all ready to play.

And tonight we’re in the middle of online games. (I’m typing as we play 7 Wonders.) We played some Jump Drive to start, and I won a couple of games. I came second in a game of B√§renpark. And I’ve just lost badly in 7 Wonders.

New content today:

Spanish food

Today I had one online class in the morning.

I spent time during the day preparing for the roleplaying game adventure I am going to run on Friday next week. I drew up a character sheet design, and I did some searching for character artwork to provide a selection of pictures for the players to choose from. I’ve assembled them into a gallery and let them start choosing which character look they want. Once they’ve done that I’ll define pre-generated characters based on the artwork, so we’ll be ready to play as soon as we assemble for the game. (I can’t show the artwork here, because I grabbed it randomly from lots of sites and most of it is probably copyright. I’m just using it for personal use.)

After work this evening my wife decided she wanted to go out for dinner tonight, rather than tomorrow or Saturday as we usually do. We decided to try a Spanish place a couple of suburbs away that we’d noticed last time we were there. There’s a nice Spanish place near us, but we only went there once before we got Scully, and haven’t been back, because they don’t have any outdoor seating. But this new place does, so we could sit outside with Scully.

We had some patatas bravas, mushroom croquettes, and split a serve of vegetarian paella. And then had some churros for dessert which came with both molten chocolate and dulce de leche. It was pretty good, and we’ll definitely be going back there another time.

Bonus Scully photo from our lunchtime walk today:

Run Scully

New content today:

Surprise twins

Wednesday is face-to-face ethics class at the local school. I learnt something about my class today: two of the kids in it are twins!

Yes, I hadn’t noticed that before. They’re fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, which is why I didn’t even suspect it before. They have the same surname on the class roll, but I pay very little attention to the surnames when I’m learning the names of a new class full of kids. It’s enough of a job to remember all their first names. So, that was a surprising discovery!

It may have been the most notable thing I did all day, though. I did a 2.5k run, and I wrote and made a new Darths & Droids comic, and this evening I did three online classes on the topic of weather. The third class only one of the two enrolled students turned up. Normally this is bad, because with only one kid giving answers I can run out of material. But fortunately the kid I had was talkative, and I could let her run on for a few minutes before asking another question. So it was actually a little easier than an average class.

New content today:

Ethics of weather

Tuesday – new topic for online ethics classes. This week we’re discussing the weather. I wrote the lesson this morning, and it turned out to be a lot of material about potentially controlling the weather. There are a lot of cases to go through, and situations to discuss where the boundaries are between what would be an acceptable use of weather manipulation versus unacceptable. We also go into a bit of climate change and the consequences, and responsibilities for it. The first three classes tonight went well enough, but I may need to add a few more questions to fill time if I get a class with just 1 or 2 students in it.

For lunch today I went for a drive. I took Scully out to a new pie shop that I wanted to try, at Allambie Heights, about 25 minutes drive away. I tried a Thai chicken pie and a sausage roll, and also got a custard tart for afters. They were all pretty good! Then I let Scully run around on the nearby soccer field for a while to burn off some energy before we headed home.

This afternoon I put together a few more comics from the next batch of Irregular Webcomic! that I photographed last week. Hmm… and that’s about it.

New content today:

Busy day quick update

Mondays are my busy days. I did three ethics classes this morning, then took Scully on a long walk for lunch. We did some ball throwing/chasing down at the grassy area near the harbour, which is always fun. We met another puppy down there.

This afternoon I added text to the science slides I prepared for the previous science lesson I did for the girl on Sunday, so I could send her a file with the material. I still need to do the cloning topic that we did on Sunday as well. I’d forgotten about the previous topic until then. So I need to catch up on that.

And then this evening I had tutoring at the university for the image processing course. I went in to have dinner in Chinatown beforehand, at Chinese Noodle Restaurant, which is on the same block as the different establishments named Chinese Noodle House, and Chinatown Noodle Restaurant. I didn’t actually have noddles – I did last time I was there. This time I tried the special braised eggplant, which was really good.

Special braised eggplant

New content today:

Teacher shortages and secret project unveiling

Those two things in the title are unrelated.

First up, this morning I received a message through Outschool, from someone who said they were a parent, but also affiliated with a private school in Texas. They said they had an emergency situation and were looking for a teacher to take the school’s final year high school class in optics and astronomy. For 8 hours a week, for six weeks. They said face to face was preferable, but they could do it by Zoom if necessary given my location.

They must have checked my Outschool profile, and possibly also my LinkedIn and academic publications, because this is well within my capabilities and experience. And honestly if it had been a school where I live in Sydney, I would have considered it. But Texas school hours are roughly midnight-6am here…. so that would be pretty terrible. (And there’s no way I’m travelling to Texas for this.) So I declined. I’d heard that there’s a shortage of teachers in some parts of the US, but I didn’t expect schools there to approach me!

While on Outschool, besides two ethics classes on Art today, I had another science lesson with the girl who has been doing those with me sporadically for a while. Today we went over the science of cloning, and applications of the technology. I cheated a little and used some of the material and slides I made for the ethics topic on cloning a couple of weeks ago, but I added more scientific explanations.

I did another 2.5k run today, backing up from yesterday. I did a good time yesterday after pushing myself, but today I decided to take it easier, and ran almost a full minute slower.

The other thing that happened today is the secret project I’ve been hinting at over the past several weeks has finally gone live! It’s a Darths & Droids related project, and if you haven’t noticed it already, you can find it linked from today’s new strip. If you look carefully…

There’s been a lot of work put into this, and I’m very excited that it’s now live. I’m waiting for the reader reactions to start rolling in as people discover it and start commenting about it.

Oh, and here’s Scully at the pizza place where we went for dinner last night.

Scully at the pizza place

(No, she didn’t get any of the pizza. We don’t feed her from the table.)

New content today:

A day of assembling comics

Today I spent time making comics out of the photos I took yesterday. I only made five, and wrote annotations for them, as I had some other things to do. So there’s still a whole lot more to assemble, but that five will last for the coming week.

Last night at board games night, we played three games of Werewords, then a new game called Fantastic Factories.

This is a tableau building game where you roll dice, collect resources (energy and ingots), and use them to build various factories and industrial things that allow you to cascade into producing more resources and other stuff, and also collect points. In the building phase, everyone rolls their handful of dice simultaneously, and decides how to spend them – each die can be used to draw an extra card, or rolls form 1-3 can be used to gain energy, while rolls from 4-6 can be used to gain ingots. The thing is that you gain energy equal to the die roll (so 1-3 for each die), but for ingots you gain just 1, no matter what number is showing on the die.

Two of us got this wrong (since it was our first game). One friend of mine was taking 4-6 ingots for each die, and so gaining a huge advantage. My mistake was the exact opposite: taking only 1 energy for each die showing 1-3, rather than 1-3 energy. So I was handicapping myself. (It was possible to do this because everyone plays their dice rolls at the same time, so nobody is really watching what anyone else is doing to check on them.) Another player made a different rules error. In the end we joked that the winner would be the only person who didn’t realise they’d been playing illegally the whole time. But you kind of expect this thing on a first learning game. It was fun, and will be worth another play, now that we all know the rules!

After that we played an old favourite: Ra. We played this a lot back in the day, when we all used to work at the same company. Unfortunately, I had an utterly shambolic game. It’s an auction game played over 3 rounds, scoring points for collecting sets of various tiles that you win in the auctions. You start with 10 points (since it’s possible, though unlikely, to score negative points in a round), and then normally you’d expect to score around 5-15 additional points per round. In the first round I scored 2. In the second round I scored -2. That’s right: minus two. In the last round I scored 9 points, but I finished squarely in last place with a total of 19, behind people with total scores ranging from the 30s to 50s. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a bad game of that! Lucky I play for the social interaction!

New content today:

A day of photographing comics

This morning, after picking up groceries form the supermarket, I spent time photographing the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I’d written yesterday. That took me past lunch time.

Then this afternoon I had another two classes of the Art topic. At the beginning of one, when I said today’s topic was art, a kid asked if we were going to talk about comics. I had to say no, but I’d put it on my topic planning list and see if I can come up with a lesson about comics. I’m not sure off the top of my head if I can fill a lesson with that, but maybe…

Tonight is face-to-face board games night. I have time to write this before I go because we’re starting an hour later than usual at the request of tonight’s host. So I don’t have any reports on what games we played yet. I’m planning on going to the Thai place near where I used to work to pick up some dinner on the way, since it’s only a couple of blocks away from the host’s house. I’ll be taking Scully tonight too, so everyone can see her.

New content today:

A day of writing comics

My break from producing new Irregular Webcomic! strips is almost over… so I got stuck into writing a new batch of comics today. I just finished, in the middle of the evening – phew! That’s actually faster than a lot of other times, when it can take two or three days to write a batch of scripts. Tomorrow I’ll try to photograph them all and then have the weekend to assemble them.

Apart from that I didn’t do much else. I took Scully for a walk at lunch time and got some fish & chips to eat. We went down to the ferry wharf to enjoy the waterfront a bit while I ate.

Oh, I’m finally organising a date to play the 1980s “kids with bikes” roleplaying game adventure that I’ve written. I’ve recruited several of my friends, and we’ve decided to do it twice, in two separate sessions with different players. One group will play face-to-face at a games night which I’ll be hosting at my place, and then a week later the other group will play online using Zoom. After both groups have played the adventure, they can compare notes and see how they fared compared to each other. I’ve been sitting on this adventure for a long time, so I’m very keen to finally run it.

New content today:

Ethics of teasing

In this morning’s face-to-face volunteer ethics class at the local school we started a new topic: Teasing. A few of the students were away at a rugby event, so there were only 10 kids in the class. The material goes through some scenarios to look at the questions of what exactly is teasing, and whether teasing is ever okay or not.

With that number of kids, it was easy enough to let the conversation progress organically, with kids speaking one after another, without me having to enforce hands up before speaking. It was a good discussion, and the kids generally converged on the idea that teasing between friends who are peers is okay if it’s done in a friendly, joking manner, but in other cases it’s bad – such as when done to deliberately hurt someone, or when done by a person in authority, or by someone who’s not a good friend.

I managed to fit in another 2.5k run today – my first since last Friday. I was a bit hesitant early because the weather was cold and showery, but it cleared up mid-afternoon so I could go out in the sun, though it was still a bit chilly.

Spring is on the way in the foliage though. Magnolias have been blooming for a few weeks already, but now cherry blossoms are popping up everywhere, and azaleas too.

New content today: