Long walk in non-rain

I wanted to see if could play a round of golf this morning as part of my social distancing exercise, but the weather forecast was for up to 30mm of rain, with heavy falls at times. So I decided not to go to the golf course, and instead set out on a longish walk, with an umbrella.

As it turned out, it didn’t rain at all today… so I could have easily played a round of golf without weather problems. Oh well. I did put together this virtual photo tour of the parts of Sydney that I walked through today.

Also, here’s a photo of Scully helping me the other day to get my Lego photos done for Irregular Webcomic.

Scully helping with Lego

This afternoon I worked on finishing off writing annotations for the batch of comics.

Also, me and my gaming friends organised a Magic: the Gathering draft tournament, which we drafted today using a custom online web tool built by one of my friends. We’ll be building our decks and playing games remotely using Tabletop Simulator, as a replacement for face-to-face gaming. We drafted the Dominaria set from 2018, which we never managed to do at the time in cardboard format. I think I drafted a terrible deck, but I’m looking forward to playing it!

New content today:

Easier day, bad start

My day began at 4:30 this morning, when Scully threw up on the bed. Having to get up and turn the lights on to clean up shocked me out of my deep sleep, and I couldn’t really get back to sleep afterwards, so was groggy for most of the morning.

I took Scully out for a play in the park in the morning, and then she went with the doggie daycare for a group walk with some other dogs. And then this afternoon I took her to another park to meet her regular doggie friends and chase a ball a bit more. She should be super tired tonight!

Work-wise, I started work on writing annotations for the latest batch of Irregular Webcomic! I’ve bene doing a lot of other chores today, so didn’t get very far with them.

I did take this video of Scully in the park though, reacting to our emergency recall command word.

I’ll just leave you with that for today. 😀

New content today:

Knuckle down Sunday

I need to get a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! photographed and started assembly before Friday this week, since that’s when my buffer runs out. My plan is to photograph on Monday, to give me time to start assembling comics and writing annotations before Friday. That timetable requires me to have a batch of 20+ comic scripts ready to shoot on Monday morning. Which required me to write 20 comic scripts… today.

Normally I take 2-4 days to write a batch of comics. It’s not easy work – you can’t just sit down and be funny and reel off script after script. It doesn’t work like that. There’s writer’s block, distractions, workshopping various possibilities, writing joke attempts and determining if they’re not funny enough, and even sometimes doing actual research involving web searches, reading Wikipedia pages or other websites. On average, I’m lucky if I can write 6 or 7 strips in one day.

Today I chained myself to the desk, threw on some music, and blasted out some comics. I started before 9am, and now, just after 7pm as I write this, I have written 23 new strips, which is a slightly larger batch than normal. (I was inspired for one theme and write some extra strips.)

Phew!

And now I’m going to relax and watch some TV.

New content today:

Chilli and potatoes

My chilli plant has been growing really well, and had heaps of chillis on it. Way more than I could use for cooking. So today I decided to pick all the extras and make some home made chilli sauce. A friend of mine got me on to this, since he also has a chilli plant that produces way more than he can use.

Collecting chillis

My wife picked the chillis for me. I was only going to grab the ripe red ones, but my friend showed me a photo of his latest batch and he included a lot of the unripe green ones too, so I did likewise.

Chopping chillis

I chopped them up carefully, trying not to touch them with my fingers.

Chillis with salt and garlic

Put them into a jar with some salt and sliced garlic.

Chillis ready to ferment

And topped it up with water. The jar gets sealed and stored in a dark place at room temperature for two weeks. The idea is that the naturally occurring lactobacillus that is everywhere ferments it, while the salt inhibits any undesirable bacterial/fungal growth. After two weeks, the whole lot gets blended and vinegar added. And that’s pretty much it, as I understand it, although you can add other flavours as well for variety. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Besides this, I spent some time this afternoon making potato salad, to have with dinner. Similar to last time I made it, but this time I remembered to add chopped capers! I completely forgot about those last time.

Work-wise, I intended to start writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! today… but ended up so distracted and busy that I didn’t even manage to write a single comic. Yeesh! I better get stuck into it tomorrow.

New content today:

Scully games

It’s been a bit of a write-off of a week, with my wife working from home and Scully being home too, which means a lot of distractions throughout the day.

Scully has this game that she and I play every evening before we retire for the night. She’s a small poodle, and although we initially vowed she wouldn’t sleep on the bed with us, nowadays she does. She’s good, staying at the foot of the bed, and honestly it’s better than our previous arrangement where she slept in a crate next to the bed, and would scratch to get out at first light, waking us up before we were ready. Now she sleeps as long as we do.

Anyway, normal procedure is that Scully gets tired in the evening, and around 9pm or so she actually gets up and wanders into the bedroom and sits to wait to be lifted into the bed. (We don’t let her jump on or off anything – she’s trained to sit to ask permission to be lifted up.) So we pop her on the bed and she snoozes for a bit until we’re ready to go to bed.

Now, on the bed we have a plush toy puppy that she likes – it’s been one of her favourite toys since she was a puppy herself. But when she falls asleep, it’s usually a little bit away from the puppy. When I come in, before going to bed myself, I take her downstairs to the grass for a final toilet. Scully can hear me getting her lead and my keys ready, and when I go into the bedroom and move to put the lead on her, she will often make a sudden lunge for her puppy and clamp it in her jaws, so that when I lift her up to take her out, she has the puppy firmly gripped in her mouth.

Every evening I try to circumvent this by stealth, surprise, or quick action, and she tries to get past me and get the puppy. She wins most of the time, but sometimes I manage to get her up into my arms before she can reach the puppy. And every evening my wife watches this battle of wits and laughs every time Scully beats me.

Anyway, today I did a large grocery shop – the first shopping I’ve done in 8 days. I bought a lot of food… honestly I think the amount of food I bought could probably last me and my wife for well over a week. I guess we’ll see.

Later this afternoon I took a walk for some exercise. Passing through a nearby park, I saw that the children’s play equipment had all been taped off.

Playground closed due to COVID-19

A sign said that the playground equipment was closed until further notice due to COVD-19.

Playground closed due to COVID-19

Times they are a-changin’.

New content today:

Video walk experiment

Today I thought I’d try making a video of part of the walk I did for exercise, in this time of social distancing when we’re not supposed to leave home for anything but essential activities (of which exercise is counted as one).

I took the video using my phone, mounted on a small handheld steadicam gadget that I got from a Kickstarter a few years ago. It helps smooth out the shakiness of walking while holding the phone, but it’s not perfect. I didn’t speak while walking, but added some comments using a microphone once I got home.

And here’s the walk route, marked on a map of Wollstonecraft, Sydney:

Hopefully this will be a nice virtual walk for some of you who might not have had much chance to get out and about recently.

New content today:

Baking damper: attempt 2

We were out of bread today after eating all the damper I made three days ago. Restricting our grocery shopping outings to once a week, I didn’t want to buy bread today, so I made another damper. This time I used soda water instead of beer, and the recipe I looked up pointed out that you don’t want to knead the dough, because that drives the air out of it. Last time the beer damper recipe said to knead the dough lightly.

So today I mixed the dough roughly and didn’t knead it at all. And sprinkled a bit of flour on top before baking. And here’s the result!

Damper, version 2

It turned out well – better than the last one. Really delicious, in fact. My wife actually said she didn’t want us to buy bread ever again. Of course that relies on me making bread whenever she wants it…

I did have to go out today though, to take my wife’s 4G box that her office gave her to use for connectivity and get it repaired, after the trouble she had yesterday. The guy at the mobile shop poked a tray through the door and told me to put the box on it, then locked the door behind him, with me waiting on the outside while he checked it out. Ten minutes later he came back and told me through the glass that it was working, and had me check by connecting to the WiFi with my phone. Then he unlocked the door and handed it back to me, from the tray. Getting it home, it did work again, so that’s good.

I really don’t know what happened with the rest of the day!

New content today:

Working from home means less work

My wife had a hard morning, with her work-from-home setup having technical issues for several hours, resulting in a lot of frustration and lost time, which spilled over to me not being able to concentrate on much. I worked on some more Darths & Droids comics, but didn’t get as much done as I would have hoped.

I took Scully for a walk. While letting her run up and down the grassy area across the street, one of our neighbours walked past, and we had a semi-shouted conversation from several metres apart. He said he’d gone down to the golf course this morning, only to find a big “closed” sign there. All golf courses across Australia have been closed from midnight last night, as part of the country’s coronavirus suppression strategy.

The restrictions put in place here are pretty limiting. It’s basically nobody is allowed to leave their home except for (1) buying essential supplies, (2) medical or safety reasons, (3) to go to work if unable to work from home, and (4) for exercise. And a few other sensible things like children visiting separated parents which don’t apply to me. And there are severe penalties for violators – fines up to $11,000 and up to 6 months in prison. Police have been patrolling areas such as beaches and have been handing out (lesser level) fines to several people today. So this is not an order to be messed with for frivolous reasons.

So I’ve been getting out for walks around the neighbourhood for exercise, both for me and Scully. But apart from that it’s been confinement, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

New content today:

A new week of work from home

The morning began with a dash to my wife’s work to retrieve her office chair. After last week working from home, she realised that using a dining table chair wasn’t good for her posture, so we had to go in and get the office chair. The rain complicated things slightly, as did the fact that we couldn’t fit the chair in the car without leaving a passenger out, so she had to walk home with Scully.

Once home, I dedicated the day to writing and making new Darths & Droids comic. And that was about it, really. I made pasta for dinner, wth pumpkin and walnuts… that was good.

New content today: