Recovery day, non-travel jetlag

I went to bed about 9:30 last night, and slept in until almost 8am. So that got me caught up on a lot of sleep that I’d missed during the late night meetings the past few days.

Generally I took it easy today. I made all of the comics from the last batch of Irregular Webcomic! that I photographed a couple of weeks ago. Took Scully for a walk at lunch time while my wife was out having lunch with a friend. And in the afternoon I did a 5k run. It was my first run for eight days, since the previous Saturday. I had a sore calf muscle and wanted to let it get better, so didn’t push myself to do a run during the week.

That’s about it. Except to complain about the weather, as it was really cold again today.

New content today:

Virtual New York meeting: day 4

Thankfully the final day of the ISO Photography Standards meeting is mostly administrative and usually ends a bit early. There was one technical session to start, before moving into admin. During a break I had a piece of apple strudel which we’d got as a take-away dessert from the restaurant where we had dinner last night.

The meeting wound up around 4:30am, and I crawled into bed to finally get some sleep. I ended up sleeping until around 9:30 before I got up.

I did some easy, relaxing things today. I built another stage of my Lego Dungeons & Dragons set. I also did one yesterday, so I have two stages worth to show off. Here is stage 13, which starts building a new section of the diorama:

Lego D&D stage 13

This section is a baseplate with some rudiments of walls and the beginning of a staircase. There’s also some weird pink plant growth in places. And candles with green flames!

Lego D&D stage 13

Then today stage 14 added a very cool spiral staircase up to the first floor and the beginning of more stairs going up further.

Lego D&D stage 14

There are two doors into this area. And I think that small round thing in the corner is a well.

Lego D&D stage 14

My wife went out today to see Death of a Salesman on stage in the city. So I had the afternoon with Scully at home. The weather was very cold and grey, with intermittent rain, so not fun for going outside at all. Sydney only reached a maximum of 13.8°C today, which is about as cold as it gets in winter.

For dinner I made spicy chick peas in tomato sauce, served over rice. I made this specifically so I could use up some remaining spinach before it went off. And I forgot to put the spinach in! Everything was cooked and ready to serve, but I chopped up the spinach and threw it in the sauce and stirred it through. Fortunately spinach only takes about 10 seconds to cook.

Oh, and I took this photo yesterday, of an old house on a street corner. Evidently the owner refused to sell to developers, and now a huge apartment tower complex is being built on both sides of the house. You can see the building work being down on the left and right – it’s the same building site, wrapping around the back of the house.

Nail house

Time to get a full night’s sleep tonight!!

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Virtual New York meeting: day 3

I stayed up for the full hours of the ISO Photography Standards meeting, from 11pm, although it finished a little early, around 5:30am instead of 7am. I crawled into bed, but didn’t get any sleep since my wife got up at 6:15 to go to the gym before work.

I had breakfast and then took Scully out for a morning walk. During the day I worked slowly on some Darths & Droids writing, trying to use the opportunity of a day without ethics classes to get ahead. But I was tired so it was hard to think properly.

I had to pack up some stuff to send in the mail and decided to take Scully up to the post office and get an early lunch because I was hungry, and also because there was rain incoming and I wanted to beat it. I had a snack during the night to keep me going – a Napoli biscuit that I’d bought from Maggio’s with my lunch. But being awake all night must burn a lot of energy because I had my regular breakfast and then was hungry again by 11am.

The rain hit soon after lunch and set in for the rest of the day. It’s still coming down now, close to midnight, with almost 60 mm having fallen.

I tried to nap from about 2pm to get some sleep, but don’t think I did any more than lie there trying to fall asleep, despite being very tired.

My wife tried to contact me to pick her up from work, but I wasn’t paying attention to my phone until it actually rang. I got up and drove over there, picking her up in the rain. We drove over to another suburb to pick up a new pair of glasses for her, then came back to get our grocery order, which I’d put in online for pickup in the evening instead of the usual morning. We decided to take the opportunity of being parked at the supermarket to go to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Then we picked up the shopping and came home for an early evening.

I had a shower to warm up and then hopped into bed by 8:30pm to try and get any sleep at all before getting up again at 10:30 for tonight’s ISO meeting session. Thankfully it’s the last day of the meeting, and should wrap up a bit early so I can crawl into bed in the wee hours again.

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Virtual New York meeting: day 2

Well, I skipped day 2 of the ISO meeting, as explained yesterday, and got a good sleep instead. That meant I was reasonably fresh and recharged for the day.

For lunch I took Scully for a walk over to Maggio’s Italian bakery at Cammeray. I could see there was only one slice of salami pizza left in the window, which is my usual choice. And when I looked at the sweets for the daily specials I saw one remaining apple pie (individual serve size). I’ve never seen apple pies there before, and the little sign said “Award Winning Apple Pie”. Okay, I knew what I wanted.

But the woman being served immediately before me ordered the last salami pizza slice. Another staff member served me and I said, “Oh, I see the last salami slice has gone.” She said to me there was more out the back and dashed off into the kitchen area. But now I was worried that someone else would get served while I was waiting and order the last apple pie too! The woman came back after a minute and said sorry, there was no salami pizza ready. So I selected the capricciosa instead with mushrooms, ham, and olives – and quickly said I’d have the last apple pie too before it went. Phew! She packed that for me while the pizza heated up.

OMG, I can see why it won an award. Pastry was rich and crumbly, just solid enough to hold together. Filled with delicious stewed apple chunks with cinnamon, a hint of coconut, and custard! I think it’s the best apple pie I’ve ever had. Really worth the hike.

In the afternoon I did some comics stuff. My wife had a watercolour painting class this evening, so we ate dinner early. Pasta with spinach and tomato sauce, around 6pm. After she left for the class, I slid into bed to try to get some sleep for an hour or so before tonight’s all-night ISO meeting. I didn’t succeed very well, but at least I closed my eyes for a bit.

And tonight I have to last through the full New York day of meetings, from 11pm to 7am in my time zone. Let’s see how I go!

Finally, two photos I took yesterday down by the harbour. You can see the wind by how stiff the flags on the Bridge are, and the choppiness of the water.

Windy day in Sydney

Windy day in Sydney

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Virtual New York meeting: day 1

I went to bed a little early last night, in an attempt to get a bit more sleep before my alarm woke me just before 3am. It didn’t work, because I wasn’t tired enough to sleep, and then my mind started thinking about having to get up early, and I had trouble getting to sleep.

When the awful hour struck I got up, made myself a cup of Bengal Spice tea to warm myself up, and connected to the meeting videoconference. The first session was administrative stuff as usual. I had to talk about the logistics for the next meeting, which I’m hosting in Sydney in October. We decided to set that meeting from Tuesday to Friday, 15-18 October, dropping the tentative Monday from the schedule. There were some questions from the meeting which I had to action and liaise with Standards Australia to get answers about. In particular, the meeting in Sydney is only authorised for two working groups of the ISO Photography committee, but it’s highly likely that by October a new working group will be initiated, and it would be sensible to have it meet jointly, as many of the experts overlap. So I had to check that we can add an extra working group to the meeting or if that would cause administrative issues.

The meeting wrapped early for the day, so instead of going until 7am, I ended a bit after 5am. I went back to bed and tried to get some sleep, but again couldn’t really fall asleep properly. I was so cold that despite two hours huddled under the quilt, I still felt cold when I got up again after 7. So as far as I can tell I basically got no sleep at all last night.

Tonight’s session is all technical discussion of high dynamic range image formats, which is outside my expertise, and frankly I find a bit tedious. So I’m going to skip the whole day and get some decent sleep tonight (hopefully). And hopefully that’ll be enough to mean I can struggle through full nights awake on Thursday and Friday.

The daylight hours today were cold, and it got extremely windy in the middle of the day. We recorded gusts up to 100 km/h. I had to venture out because I made a sale of piles of old Netrunner cards via my eBay listings yesterday. A buyer actually contacted me looking for specific rare cards and I said I had opened cards and could look through them. I confirmed I had 7 of the 8 cards he was looking for to complete his collection. I hadn’t listed the loose cards on eBay, so I created a buy-it-now listing for local pickup only and told him to buy it. Then we could exchange contact information through eBay (without violating the terms of service), and I drove over to his place to deliver them, only 5 minutes drive away.

While out there, I took Scully for a walk down to the harbour shore before driving home. It was so windy by the water that we had to retreat quickly back into the shelter of the house-lined streets. It really was horribly windy, with whole trees swaying, and big whitecaps on the usually placid harbour.

This afternoon I listed more old gaming items on eBay: a bunch of Blood Bowl miniatures that I bought back in 1996 for the (excellent) 3rd edition of the game, but never got around to painting. I had two whole teams, plus 8 blister packs of star players, all in the original packaging.

For dinner I made okonomiyaki again, using up the other half of the cabbage quarter I’d bought last week. I tried adding a bit of sriracha sauce to mine for some spicy kick. Probably horrifying many Japanese cooks, but it tasted good!

New content today:

Moving cards on eBay

I have a week with no ethics classes, but only because I have the ISO Photography Standards meeting beginning tonight… at 3am.

Without needing to prepare for a new class this week, I spent the morning doing photos and creating listings on eBay to sell lots of Magic: the Gathering and Netrunner cards, all in sealed packs. I bought a bunch of Magic booster boxes some years ago, at the tail end of our regular draft tournaments with my friends, thinking we’d use them to play tournaments. But we haven’t played Magic for ages and I don’t think we’ll ever get to use all these booster packs. So I’ve decided to sell them off. There are sealed boxes from Dominaria through Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance to War of the Spark. Plus boxes of Unstable and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. And also some loose boosters, dating back to original Ravnica: City of Guilds, and Dissension. I also created listings for sealed starter and booster packs for Wizards of the Coast’s 1996 Netrunner, the original game that later evolved into Android: Netrunner.

If you’re interested at all in any of these, you can see my eBay listings here.

I took Scully for a couple of walks during the day, which was cold and wintery, but dry, thankfully. And did a few comics things to keep up. And then did a little prep work before the ISO meeting tonight. I’m going to try to go to sleep a bit early, although that may be difficult because I’m not tired at all. I have an alarm set for just before 3am so I can get up in time to join the meeting online.

New content today:

King’s birthday classes

Today was the King’s Birthday public holiday. Which still feels weird after it having been the Queen’s Birthday for my entire life before Charles took over from Elizabeth. So my wife was home from work, while I had to do my usual 6 ethics classes, since they don’t respect Australian holidays (unless I want them to).

But today was the last classes for a full week, since I am taking a week’s break from them to give me room and time for the ISO Photography Standards meeting happening from Wednesday to Saturday – in my time zone – it’s Tuesday to Friday in New York where it’s physically being held. It starts lunchtime Tuesday in New York, which means for me getting up at 3am on Wednesday morning for the first session, which I’ll be attending via Webex videoconference.

After my first four classes in the morning, we went for a walk with Scully, around Waverton and the harbour shore. We went past Botanica Garden Cafe to see what was up with the closure and if there was any indication that it might just be temporary or if it looked permanent. The tables and chairs in the courtyard had been removed and there was no sign indicating anything in particular, so it looks like it might be permanent.

And then to make things even worse, we continued down the street and walked past another favourite place, the Waterview, only to find that it had closed too, and the shop had been gutted of all the furniture and counters! It was a cafe by day and an Italian restaurant in the evenings and had great food.

I’m not sure I can take any more closures of good food places nearby!

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Better fish and chips?

Today I worked on writing some more Irregular Webcomic! strips. I did half a batch last week, and this week it’s time to do the other half of the themes in the batch, for photographing tomorrow.

For lunch we went on a walk to Naremburn. Normally I get something from Cornucopia bakery, but today I felt like trying the fish and chips from one of the other shops. I’ve had them before and remembered they were good. Indeed it was. The chips are crispier than the nearer place I normally go to, and the fish is certainly no worse. Also it’s significantly cheaper, by a couple of dollars. If it wasn’t about twice the distance, I suspect I’d get fish & chips from this place more often than my usual place.

My wife got a green quinoa dish with falafel. It looked like a salad thing and I assumed it was cold, but she said it was piping hot.

This afternoon I photographed a bunch of Magic: the Gathering sealed product which I’ve been hanging onto for a while. I bought a bunch of booster boxes back when my friends and I were still doing regular draft tournaments, and we never got around to opening the boxes and sharing out the booster packs. I’m not sure we’ll ever get to using them, so I’m going to sell them on eBay. I’ll see if I have enough time to list them tomorrow.

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When one door opens another closes

Friday was online games night with my friends. We played Applejack, Just One, 7 Wonders. I actually won the game of Applejack and the first game of 7 Wonders! Much better than my usual record.

The only other event of note on Friday was going out for dinner to our usual favourite pizza place. We both tried new dishes! My wife got the ravioli, filled with spinach and ricotta, in a tomato sauce. I tried a pizza combination I hadn’t had before, with pepperoni, capsicum, mushrooms, olives, and anchovies.

The weather was a bit unsettled, but not raining when we walked up. Fortunately we took our umbrellas though, because it began raining just before we left to come home. I checked the rain radar on my phone and thought it would pass in a few minutes, so we sat and waited for a while. It seemed to be getting lighter, so we set out…

And during the 10 minute walk home the rain began pelting down. Even with umbrellas we were so wet by the time we got home that we had to do complete changes of clothes and hang up what we’d been wearing in the bathroom to dry.

Today my wife was keen to go to the new croissant place that I’d found on Thursday. She’d seen the chocolate hazelnut one that I saved for dessert and wanted to know where it was from. So this morning I took her there. It’s a place called Moon Phase, and it’s a Korean bakery making French pastries, and Korean variants. There are some savoury pastries with kimchee or bulgogi beef, for example.

It was busy there this morning. My wife got the plain butter croissant, while I tried an almond croissant. Really good. Scully got to meet a couple of other small dogs while we were sitting outside at one of the two tiny tables they had. (There was more seating inside.)

My wife looked it up and found that this place had only opened in March this year. But on the topic of food places, she also had bad news. She’d heard that Botanica Garden Cafe at Waverton had closed! You may recall that just over a week ago I started working my way through their all-day breakfast menu. And now they’ve shut down!!

It’s always awful when a good food place closes down. And we recently lost our favourite Turkish restaurant as well, just a few weeks ago.

This afternoon we gave Scully a bath, since she’d been getting wet a lot in the rainy weather and starting to be a little “wet dog” smell.

Oh, and I finally did stage 13 of the Lego Dungeons & Dragons set. It has an owlbear!

Lego D&D set, stage 13

And myconids!

Lego D&D set, stage 13

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More record rainfall?

It’s pouring down outside as I type this tonight. There are flash flood warnings in place for parts of the state and regular flood warnings for some of the rivers around Sydney. I’ve heard some pretty loud thunder too, as I was teaching my ethics classes a little earlier. With this current rain system, we have a good chance of passing Sydney’s annual average rainfall figure, less than 6 months into the year. This is already the second wettest year on record up to today’s date, beaten only by 2022, which was the overall wettest year on record.

In the classes tonight, talking about dilemmas, I asked the kids who they could ask for help to make a tough decision. I was expecting answers like friends and family, maybe teachers, and hoping for broader answers including professionals (e.g. doctors, scientists, lawyers), or even potentially asking people on the Internet (e.g. StackExchange or even reddit). I was surprised though when one kid answered: ChatGPT. And then in the next class another kid suggested ChatGPT as well!

I did manage to get to the post office this morning before the rain closed in around lunchtime. I found a new place to get croissants, not too far away, and bought a plain butter croissant for a snack, and a chocolate hazelnut one for dessert tonight. I never would have found this place without accidentally stumbling on a recommendation online, and it was well worth the visit. I’ll have to take my wife there one day soon to show her my discovery.

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