Pseudo-Mother’s Day

Today was not Mother’s Day in Australia, tomorrow is. But my wife and I visited her mother today, since under the current COVID restrictions household visits are limited to two people at a time, and her other daughter (my wife’s sister) and her son are visiting tomorrow – so we can’t be there at the same time. Rather than juggle times, we just went over today. We had a morning tea and then went for a walk.

It turned out to be a good day to go out, because it was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, with a few clouds in the bright blue sky. The temperature was 27°C. And I think this may well be the last warm day of autumn, as we are forecast for a cold change tonight, and tomorrow will be a frigid 19°C, leading into a week that barely gets above 20°. Winter is definitely just around the corner.

Clontarf panorama view

I took some photos on the walk, including a few panoramas to capture the views.

Clontarf Beach

We walked down to the nearby small beach on the harbour. This is very sheltered beach, with wide shallow water over sandflats, so ideal for families with young kids.

Sandy Bay walk

There were a few people out enjoying the last fine weather of the summer, but no huge crowds. A few joggers, and people out walking their dogs. (Like us!)

Sandy Bay dog park

And this wide exposed sandflat is one of the very few places in Sydney where it’s legal to take your dog onto the beach (there’s only one other place I know of). So of course it’s insanely popular with people and their dogs.

Back home, I wrote some Darths & Droids scripts, did some housecleaning and some cooking, and watched some TV. I was going to watch a DVD, but the remote control failed to work, and I didn’t have the right batteries handy to replace them, and I couldn’t access the navigation menus from the player console, so I had to give up and watch Netflix instead…

New content today:

Fortnightly games night

It’s the Friday of our fortnightly board games night, and I am currently in the middle of a game of Bärenpark as I type this up, via Tabletop Simulator as we hold it virtually during COVID lockdown.

This morning I did a weekly grocery shop. I’ve scaled down the shopping list after realising that I was buying too much food for us to eat in a week, so it was a smaller shop than it has been the last few weeks. After that I spent the rest of the morning photographing the new batch of Irregular Webcomic! comics that I finished writing last night, which took up until lunch time.

This afternoon I went out with my wife and Scully to check out the new premises of her doggy daycare and grooming place, which is moving this weekend. It’s near a kitchen supply shop, and I went in to buy a new kitchen knife. Turned out they had a huge sale on knife sets, so I ended up getting a set of 6 knives and matching knife block. I’m quite excited, as we’ve only ever had cheap knives before, and now I feel like a proper chef with a fancy set of knives.

New content today:

Comic batching

Today was a writing day, churning out scripts for a new batch of Irregular Webcomic. I actually started this earlier in the week, but my plan was to do the photography on Friday morning, and I realised this morning that I was less than halfway to having a batch written and ready to photograph. So I had to knuckle down and bet funny and write stuff today. I just finished the batch a few minutes ago, after 8pm.

In between I went for a walk, made a loaf of banana bread, and cooked a dinner of vegetarian sausages, garlic mashed potatoes, and crispy fried Brussels sprouts with miso, garlic, and chilli. It’s about as unhealthy as you can get for a vegetarian meal! But it was delicious.

Oh… it’s getting cool enough at night that Scully has started wearing pyjamas…

Scully with pyjamas

New content today:

Good and lousy

I went to play some golf this morning at nearest local 9-hole course. It was early and the grass was very dewy. I had a pretty good putting day, and even sank a short chip onto the green, but my driving really let me down on many holes. I did manage to score one par, with a tee shot landing just off the green, followed by a short chip, and then sinking a putt of a little under 2 metres, so that was satisfying.

At home I baked a loaf of bread, which turned out very nice. And while the oven was hot I thought I’d try an experiment and see if the old pre-made puff pastry we’ve had sitting in the freezer for ages would be able to be rolled up and baked into something resembling a croissant. Bakers out there are probably laughing at me already, but wait until you see this photo…

"Rustic" croissants

I generously call them “rustic” croissants. Actually they weren’t too bad, with either butter or strawberry jam, although it really was more like “puff pastry with butter/jam” than a croissant.

And my wife was laughing so hard at them, and asked if she could send the photo to her nephew, who is currently working overseas in Paris. She said that the first thing he sees when he wakes up this morning (in the Paris time zone) will be her message containing delicious looking croissants! It’ll make his mouth water and he’ll have to dash out to buy some freshly baked croissants from a Parisian boulangerie to try and satisfy his sudden craving!

Yeah…

Experimenting with cooking is fun!

New content today:

Goldfish updates

This morning I took Scully for a walk and along the way passed a banksia tree which had a couple of rainbow lorikeets feeding on the flowers. I was pretty close, and wondered if I could get close enough to take a decent photo with my phone (which like all phones doesn’t have much telephoto capability). I was within a step or two of the tree and aiming the phone, but I scared the birds away. But I was reasonably quick on the shutter button, and managed to get this.

Taking flight

Not too bad for an opportunistic shot.

I spent some time updating the Magic: the Gathering Goldfish Draft website that I maintain, adding/updating results from tournaments and adding a bunch of the card lists we used. You can now see the evolution of the card list as we gained experience with various combinations and the potential for ludicrous scores. The recent tournament we did (mentioned here when I was actively playing it out) now has the scores in.

My score was 10148.9 points, or 7.775×10148 in standard scientific notation. You might think this is a pretty high score, but that only managed to place me sixth out of eight players. The winning score was about 10↑↑↑4 (using Knuth’s up-arrow notation for large numbers). Suffice to say this number is so large that it’s impossible to write it down in the form 10101010… because the number of 10s you’d need to add to that continued exponentiation itself is too large to write down.

Yeah, this is pretty nerdy stuff.

New content today:

Late Monday

I got stuck into a few cut-throat games of Codenames last night with friends via online chat, and before I knew it the evening was over and I hadn’t written my Monday blog post. So here we are doing it over breakfast the next morning.

On Monday I went for a bit of a walk in the morning, around the local shops. I noticed some places newly closed and the premises up for lease. I hope the COVID restrictions don’t cause more shops/cafes/restaurants to go out of business. There were also some places renovating and fitting out for new openings, including our vet, which is moving premises in a week or so. Their old building is being demolished to be redeveloped – almost certainly into new apartments. The building never ceases in Sydney, as more housing is needed for the ever-growing population.

I took a photo of what may be the most hipster barber shop ever:

Most hipster barber ever?

Last time I did grocery shopping, I noticed that the supermarket was still selling hot cross buns. (I actually think they sell them year round now, because they’re so popular, rather than just around Easter.) I bought some, because they’re so good. In the past I only ever had them warmed up with butter melting on them. But inspired by Japanese melon-pan ice cream, I’ve taken to heating them up and then putting on a scoop of ice cream, which works amazingly well.

But in the first post-Easter COVID-lockdown-approved visit my wife made to her mother’s place, she came home with some chocolate Easter eggs. So I’ve been trying heating the buns with a chocolate egg inside, which melts and makes a delicious filling. And then I recently bought some bananas…

Hot Cross Banana Split

Behold the Hot Cross Banana Split! I heated the bun with the chocolate egg in it – so it’s all melty. Then added sliced banana and a scoop of ice cream.

Hot Cross Banana Split

Close the lid and squash it all together…

Hot Cross Banana Split

Oh my…. Highly recommended!

New content today:

Double or Nothing Sunday

Okay, today I did some stuff! Firstly, I restarted using Duolingo to practice learning Italian again. I’ve been slacking off on my Italian since I got back from my trip to Portugal last year, and finally decided to restart. Fortunately it seems I’ve done enough that I remembered all of the relatively easy stuff. We’ll see how I go with trickier stuff later on.

I cleared out another backlogged Snot Block & Roll review, of an amazing sausage roll.

I did another long walk, documented with photos. This time through the historic Coal Loader site and nearby Balls Head, in Waverton (a suburb of Sydney).

For dinner this evening I made carrot and lentil soup, seasoned with coriander and my home made chilli sauce. And I made yoghurt flatbread to go with it, which is so easy and delicious. A simple meal, but it was really delicious and perfect for a cool autumn day.

New content today:

Nothing Saturday

Oops! I forgot to post anything on Saturday (it’s now Sunday morning here). Probably because almost nothing happened. I can barely remember what I did…

I posted a new Snot Block & Roll review (of an old sample). And I did some work on an old travel diary and photos from a trip to Thailand in 2005. And not much else.

I’ve been getting into the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. And finished watching season 2 of the new Lost in Space. Yeah, not a very productive day.

New content today:

Food and food

It was time to stock up with some groceries today, so I made the trek to the supermarket. Things are almost back to normal there, however they are still completely sold out of liquid soap refills, and I’m starting to think we might have to get some bars of soap soon.

I also realised that I’ve been overestimating the amount of food my wife and I can eat in one week, as we still have quite a bit of stuff in the house, and so today I bought less than I’ve been buying in the past few weeks.

Most of the work I did today was making more Darths & Droids comics. We’re building up a nice buffer now, which is good, as we weren’t sure if we could keep up a three-a-week production schedule with the current situation.

And since it’s Friday, end of the working week, we ordered dinner delivered tonight, from a local Indian restaurant. We had a lovely meal of: (take-away containers of lentil dhal, rice, and chunks of lamb, plus foil bags of onion bhajis and naan) in a plastic bag of rogan josh sauce. Despite the mess, it was delicious.

New content today:

Drying strawberries

This morning I noticed a punnet of strawberries in the fridge that I’d bought last week, and realised we better do something with them, if they haven’t gone mouldy already. One of them had, but the rest were okay. My wife suggested drying them, if we could, to use as breakfast cereal topping.

I checked some online recipes and indeed, found that I could dry them in a slow oven. So I sliced them up and stuck them in at 90°C.

Drying strawberries

For 4 hours…

Dried strawberries

They turned out nice and crispy, and left an interesting pattern on the baking paper. I reckon this is how you made lickable wallpaper.

“The strawberries taste like strawberries! The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”

I also made some more Darths & Droids comics today. And in weather news, it was cold! The overnight temperature was about 10°C, and it had risen to 21°C by 9am, but then by midday it dropped back down below 14°C as a cold front came in, bringing heavy rain. The next few days are going to be chilly, and it looks like only getting up to 24°c next week, according to the forecast. Summer is over.

New content today: