Sports and games

This morning dawned bright and clear and I took the opportunity to go play a round of golf at my local course. It’s only 9 holes, but since I was by myself I hit two separate balls on each hole and kept the scores independently. It was interesting how often the two balls ended up near each other. Hole 4 is a par 3, in which the tee off is over a creek gully dense with trees. It’s the most intimidating hole on the course for a beginner, but I’ve managed to reach a level where I can hit confidently over the creek and land near the green. Here’s where my two tee shots landed today (highlighted with arrows, because the balls are a little tricky to see, with Apple’s image processing rendering them very un-ball-like):

Hole 3 tee shots

I managed to get one ball in with just two more strokes for a par, but the other took 5. The next hole, number 5, is a par 4, and one tee shot was good, but the other skewed badly into the rough among some trees. By the time I recovered, I’d hit one ball twice and the other 4 times, and they ended up almost on top of one another:

Hole 5 twin balls

Each ball had some good holes and some bad ones. They ended up with totals of 64 and 59, both within my best-worst range of 66-55. By the end of it, my shoes and socks were thoroughly soaked, since the course was very muddy after the recent rain, and I’ve learnt from experience that it’s not a good draining course by any measure.

After golf, I had to go do the weekly grocery shopping, and it was a big one this week, with a lot of things having run out during the week that needed to be replaced. And then after shopping I had to go up to the post office. By this time most of the day had gone. For dinner my wife and I went out to our favourite local pizza place, which was really nice – I felt like some of their pizza tonight.

And tonight is virtual fortnightly games night with my friends. I’ve already played some 7 Wonders, and 6 Nimmt, and now we’re into, which is always hilarious.

New content today:

Trip into the city

I needed to go into the city today to buy some hard acrylic storage boxes for Magic: the Gathering cards. Not for storing cards, but for packing them up for shipping by post. I’m selling off part of my collection of cards, dating back to 1995, both to raise a bit of money while I’m unable to sell my photography prints at markets due to COVID closures, and to free up some storage space at home.

It was the first time I’ve taken the train into the city centre for months – probably since March or February – although I did walk across the Harbour Bridge into the city on one occasion for a brief bit of exercise and to take some photos. The trains were eerily empty for a weekday, and the city was too. There were a few people around, but maybe around 10% of the normal number I’d expect. I went to the game shop to buy the boxes, and I saw they also had copies of Mythic Odysseys of Theros, the new D&D sourcebook. The alternative cover is amazingly beautiful, so I got that version. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

For lunch I stopped in a Japanese restaurant in the city and had a tempura prawn don bowl. It’s so nice being able to do something relatively normal like have lunch out in the city.

Back home I worked on some Darths & Droids writing and comic assembly, as well as packing those cards for posting tomorrow. Dinner was a fridge/pantry clean-up, eating the last of the fresh food and vegetables, before a big grocery shop tomorrow. Vegetarian sausages and baked potatoes.

New content today:

Train to Busan

Last night my wife went to read in bed early and left me with the TV, so I picked a movie from Netflix. I’d heard good things about Train to Busan. It’s a Korean horror movie, in which a guy and his young daughter are riding a train to escape… well, I won’t say any more. But yeah, I really enjoyed it, and recommend it. There’s one scene in particular which is just amazing and freaky. If you enjoy horror films, then you should like this one.

This morning I had my weekly Ethics class. We were finishing up the topic on animal rights, after four weeks. That’s too long for a topic, in my opinion… talking with the kids about the same topic for that long gets a bit repetitive. I wish all the topics were a maximum of three weeks long. The kids were a lot better behaved than last week – I guess the teacher had a chat with the worst offenders after my report last week. Most of the class went pretty well, although it descended into a bit of chatter towards the end, but still it was much better than last week.

On the way home I walked past the hardware store and picked up a big pack of microfibre cloths for cleaning various things, as well as some strong spring clamps, which I’m going to use to clamp one of my shoes when I glue the sole that is starting to lift on one side.

Back home, my friend who organises our fortnightly games nights posted an invitation to this Friday’s virtual online event. Actually, to set it up, I should show you the image he posted two weeks ago:

Games night invitation 1

It was an invitation in a very 1980s style. Well, today he went a little bit further back into the past:

Games night invitation 2

He said now he was going to look for more historical periods to use for future invitations, which prompted me to make this:

Aztec gaming meme

Looking forward to the games on Friday night! 😄

New content today:

New best time

I worked on some secret projects today, so don’t have too much to report.

I did go for another 5k run, now that the rain has finally stopped. And set a new best time.

5k run times

Previous best was 27:01, so I was keen to get under 27 minutes. And I managed 26:32 today, so that was a lot of time taken off! I’m definitely feeling that it’s a bit easier to maintain a slightly higher pace, now that I’m getting more used to it. Although when running laps of the oval there are often other people running around and overtaking me – there were maybe 5 or 6 of them today.

Oh, I got a Kickstarter package in the mail today – an old one that I backed some time ago, for some fantasy adventures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics roleplaying game. I still have a handful of Kickstarters that I backed as long ago as 2015 that are yet to deliver their rewards. I haven’t backed any recently, since I’m watching my expenditure a bit more carefully these days.

New content today:

August is the windy month

August is always the windy month in Sydney. There were some showers around today, but it was mostly dry – but it was very windy. I walked up to the supermarket to buy some milk and eggs first thing, then took Scully for a walk down to Berry Island. We didn’t stay there long though, because of the wind whipping straight across the Harbour and blowing off the water.

Windy day at Berry Island

So we walked back home along more sheltered streets. Scully is good at walking home, and we usually let her walk off leash along routes that she knows.

One thing I noticed while out today is that new green spring growth is starting to appear on some of the deciduous trees. In particular, a lot of magnolias are starting to finish their flowering run and produce lots of green leaves. The last few days have been cold, but there have already been a few spring-like days earlier, and we should be getting temperatures up to 22°C or so later this week.

Today I received a mail ordered book: the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion roleplaying game core book. I got the other two core books in the line—Edge of the Empire and Force and Destiny—cheaply at a closing down sale, and have really been enjoying reading them and looking forward to running some Star Wars games, so I decided I had to have the complete set. It’s always fun and exciting getting a new roleplaying game book!

New content today:

Pre-rain bakery walk

The forecast for today was heavy rain and strong winds, beginning from late morning. The early morning was nice and sunny, so my wife and I made use of it to take Scully on a long walk to the bakery. There was a long queue of people waiting outside at socially distanced 1.5 metres intervals, and I joined on the back. I bought a loaf of black Russian rye bread, and my wife wanted to get a challah but they didn’t have any today, so I got a loaf of fig and walnut sourdough, which makes a delicious fruity toast.

For lunch today, I decided to use some leftover buttermilk from the other day when I made mushroom pancakes for dinner, and made myself chocolate pancakes with banana and bush honey.

Chocolate pancakes with banana and bush honey

Bush honey is a blend of honey from various Australian bush flowers, mostly various species of eucalyptus. It’s the name used when the bees visit a bunch of different species of tree and they can’t really be sure of what’s in it. I prefer a richer, more complex and toasty taste in honey, to light floral ones. I usually try to get honeys made from trees like stringybark, leatherwood, or grey gum, but they are not very common or easy to find. Most people seem to prefer lighter honeys from trees such as yellow box, blue gum, ironbark, or red box, which are often easier to find in shops. Bush honey is a richer, more “unrefined” blend than these, so it’s okay if I can’t get the more intense flavoured honeys that I prefer.

Now that I’m writing this, I’m curious about what sorts of honeys are common overseas, and which are the lighter flavoured ones and which ones the rich and complex types.

New content today:

Family lunch

Today was mostly about a family lunch at my wife’s mother’s place. We had six people (and Scully), and we had food delivered by my sister-in-law’s work, which is a catering company, doing home deliveries as a new venture during COVID restrictions that have cut back their usual business. The food they make is really good – mid to high-end restaurant quality, with some of it par-cooked so that you need to finish it off at home so that it’s freshly prepared when you eat it. There was plenty of it and it was delicious. Lamb moussaka, potato gnocchi with tomato, basil, and parmigiano, Greek salad, and for dessert an apple and blackberry crumble.

It was a big lunch, and after coming home we spent the rest of the day lazing about and having only a light snack for dinner.

New content today:

Cold and wet end to the week

It was cold and soggy today. The sort of day where you just want to stay inside with a hot drink and not get out of your slippers. Which I mostly managed, except for taking Scully out for a bit of an exercise mid-morning.

And heading out for Friday night dinner with my wife. We had arranged for our neighbour to look after Scully on a play date with Luna the poodle next door. Originally the plan was that we’d go out to a nice restaurant and sit indoors, which we can’t do with Scully, but my wife decided we should sit outside anyway given COVID. So we just went to a local burger place and ate on the benches outside. It was good though! And not too rainy, so the walk up and back was not bad.

New content today:

A day in hospital

Admission into hospital for my colonoscopy was scheduled for 7am this morning, so I had to get up at 6, so my wife could drive me there. After she had breakfast, and I took Scully out, since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. It was very cold out there this morning.

I was checked into the hospital on time at 7:00. I had to prepare and wait around until about 8:30 when they wheeled me in for the procedure and the anaesthetist put a cannula into my arm…. and next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery and the time was 9:15. The doctor told me it went fine, but he’s sent a bit of tissue off for biopsy just to make sure it’s not a problem. My wife picked me up and I was home in time to celebrate being able to eat again by walking up the street to get some pies!

This afternoon I worked on some Darths & Droids scripts.

And had a conversation (online) with friends that basically went like this:

Friend 1: I’m excited about the game show Only Connect coming to SBS Viceland. [It’s a British show that hasn’t been televised in Australia before.]
Friend 2: Why is a game show on a channel called “Viceland”? I assumed it was all crime dramas and stuff like that.
Me: There are other game shows on it. I always assumed the “Vice” referred to TV shows that are “guilty pleasures”.

I turned and asked my wife, “What do you think the Vice in SBS Viceland refers to?” I was thinking she’d support one or other of the aforementioned theories, and then we could do some statistics.

She said, “It’s the second SBS channel. So Vice… second… you know, like Vice-President.”


So I turned to the trusty Internet and tried to find out what the “Vice” in SBS Viceland means. It turns out it’s none of those theories. Viceland used to be named SBS 2, but was rebranded to Viceland in partnership with the Canadian media company named Vice Media, which originally began in 1994 as a magazine named Voice of Montreal, which aimed at an alternative punk youth audience. The magazine changed owners in 1996, and the new owners renamed it which changed its name to Vice. Although Wikipedia doesn’t say why, I’m guessing because the word is similar to “voice”, but just sounds more edgy.

So, ultimately, SBS Viceland is named that for no good reason whatsoever. It’s almost a shame to learn that.

New content today:

Clear fluids and human rights

Today I’m fasting on clear fluids only, in preparation for tomorrow’s colonoscopy. I’ve been drinking lots of water, as well as some vegetable stock in hot water, and eating lime jelly (i.e. gelatine dessert). From midnight it’s not even water, until after the procedure tomorrow. Fortunately I’m booked in first thing in the morning, so should be able to eat by lunch time.

This morning I had my Ethics class. I managed to go around the students and name them all correctly as I marked off the roll, so that was a good achievement for me. Although truthfully a couple I only got by a process of elimination rather than remembering them explicitly.

We talked today about various human rights, and what life would be like if we didn’t have them, such as the right to medical care, or the right to vote. Generally the kids had good things to say, but the class was a bit disruptive today with lots of kids talking over the top of one another (and me). It was more difficult to get them back under control than it has been, and after the class I had a word with the teacher who normally has that room, and he said he’d chat to the offenders who I named. Hopefully next week will be a bit more smooth.

New content today: