Goldfishing

I’ve been busy today participating in a Goldfish Draft Magic: the Gathering tournament with my friends. This is a tournament format invented by one of my friends, in which we draft cards (a bit like a normal Magic draft), then build a deck and calculate our score based on how much damage we can do to an unresponsive opponent in 7 turns. That is each player’s score – we don’t actually play any games of Magic against one another.

We’ve done this style of tournament several times in the past and it’s always a blast. But it’s truly mind-bending. My score in the last game was 3.75×1040, and I’m pretty sure that was a losing score.

Yes… in fact after checking with my friends, we have records that the winning score in that tournament was approximately 10↑↑↑7, where the arrows are Knuth’s up-arrow notation. Calculating one’s score usually involves a spreadsheet. Yes, we do this for fun. Yes, we’re nerds.

I also wrote some new comic scripts for Darths & Droids. And did various cooking and housework stuff.

New content today:

Escape tech problems

My wife had some technical issues with her work-from-home this morning. Her work laptop simply wouldn’t boot up, and hung even when restarted in all of the various safe modes. So she ended up spending most of the morning on remoter tech support over the phone, trying various things to get to a point where should even begin working. This is very frustrating, both for her and also for me since I’m in the same house hearing it all going on.

Around 10am I went for a long walk to clear my head (alas my wife didn’t have that option). I took Scully with me. She’s feeling much better now after her illness last week.

Scully near Greenwich Baths

Here she is hanging out near Greenwich Baths, which is a good solid 3 and a bit km walk (about 2 miles) from home. That’s a really long walk for her and she was dog tired when we got home. 😄

This afternoon I made crème brûlée to use up some leftover cream I had in the fridge.

Crème brûlée

It’s actually not difficult to make. The custard turned out pretty well. The recipe says to refrigerate overnight before adding the sugar and flaming it to melt it, but I was impatient and decided to blowtorch some brown sugar on top tonight.

Crème brûlée torching

Unfortunately the sugar was a bit lumpy… and caught on fire. After extinguishing the sugar and letting it solidify, it actually turned out fine. The whole thing was delicious, although the sugar didn’t make a nice even crust on top. I think tomorrow I’ll try white sugar, and make sure the layer is even before torching it.

New content today:

A bit of travel

I’ve hardly driven anywhere since the coronavirus lockdown began – mainly just to the supermarket for food. But today I had a work-related reason – I needed to return a monitor colour calibrator I borrowed to the owner, who needed to use it for his own work. I drove out to his place at Baulkham Hills, and my wife suggested I take Scully for a drive, and maybe walk her around out there for change of scenery.

So we did that, and I ended up spending a couple of hours out there. Enough to stop in for lunch at a bakery, and get more samples for my food blog. And while typing that up I found an old one from last year that I hadn’t blogged yet, and typed that up too.

This afternoon I also did some work for photography standards stuff, downloading documents and voting on a whole slew of ballots to reconfirm ISO standards that are up for their 5-yearly systematic review cycle. And… hmmm, some other bookkeeping stuff related to bills and tax deductions and stuff like that. Fascinating blog material, I’m afraid.

New content today:

More Pirates!

Firstly, Scully is feeling much better today. Her appetite is definitely back, thanks to the barbecue chicken the vet suggested we try giving to her. She seems to like it a lot better than the plain boiled chicken we’d been trying. She’s also active and behaving like normal too. So hopefully she’s well on the road to recovery.

We went for a bit of a walk this morning, a big loop that we commonly do, up and down some hills, through a big park, and then back along the waterfront. Here’s Scully at the marina.

Scully at the marina

She has several interesting bandanas. I think she has a bigger wardrobe than I do!

This afternoon my wife and I played Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates! again. This time she’d got the hang of it and the game was much closer. We both ended up on 37 points, and I had to check the rulebook for the tie-breaker condition. And using that… she won!

The other main thing I did today was cooking. I made another loaf of bread using the “sourdough light rye” bread mix packet, and it turned out great again. Scully’s vet had also suggested we try white fish if the barbecue chicken didn’t work, so I’d bought a fillet of barramundi yesterday. Given she liked the chicken, I now had a piece of fish to spare. I don’t normally cook with meat or fish since my wife is vegetarian, but now I had to think of something. I decided to make myself a Thai green curry with fish pieces, broccoli, and green peas, with some jasmine rice. And oh my goodness it turned out delicious. (I also made my wife a vegetable omelette for her dinner.)

New content today:

Scully’s Diary, Day 6 of Operation Nom Nom Nom

its working!! iTs just like the other Puppers said in their wee-mails… i sniffed up this idea last week and decidded to try it out. On mOnday i just didnt eat anything, and also vomited for good measure. 🤮 On Tusday I did it again. 🤮🤮 Teh vomit was all likwid that time, aWesome!

On Wensday my hoomans took me to the Bad Place, and the peeple there stuck needles in me and poked me in the tummy. but i held firm. i was sooooo hungry when i got home, and they gave me boiled chikkin insted ov kibble – wich they nevah normally do!! – so i gave in and ated some. bUtt i remembered teh plan & vomited it all up agan an our later! 🤮 So proud of myself

i ated a tiny bit on Thusday and Friday… just enough to stave off starvation, but not enuff to please my humans. If i culd just hold out a bit longer, i knew theyd crack. i also hadn’t done a poop since Munday night, and on Thusday i did a big watery one! 💩 Haha!

i was begining to weeken and wunder if this was all worth it, and I should just eat the chicken. But i staid strong and rilly turnd it on this mornig (Satarday). i got the humans up at 5 oclok and made lyke i wanted to go outside for a poop, and then didnt do anything but snif the grass for haff an our!! HAAHAA! ANd then ten minits after i got inside i did it agaiN! and then again!! 6 tymes!

and then they tryed to feed me boyled chikin and i just turned my nose up at it. They took me to the Bad Place again… and the Evil nEedle Lady poked me again and gave me a tablet, YUk!

But then my hyoomans picked me up and talked all srsly to the nEedle Lady and then took me home… and then they gave me BARBECURE CHICKIN 🍗🍗

SCORE 🎉🎊🍗😋

i ate it ALL. SO GOOD. htey were just so hapy to see me eeting anything!! HAHAA! and then tonite tey gave me moAR BABECUE CHIKKIN. tis is so Awedsome. i might not even throw up tonigte!! tummy so full…

Scully 🐾

ps.. Hooman #2 wantd me to put this heer:

New content today:

Birdie Num Num

This morning I had a virtual meeting via Zoom for Standards Australia on photography standards. This is the follow-up to the international meeting I had in February, where I report back to the Australian experts on what happened and the progress of the various standards the international committee is working on. Normally we meet face-to-face, but this is the first online meeting of the Aus group under coronavirus restrictions. It went smoothly enough, except that my wife is also working from home at the same time, on the phone a lot, and our place isn’t large. I had to use the bedroom as my virtual office.

Unrelated good news: Scully is definitely on the mend from her illness. She’s eating more and is more active rather than lethargic.

And in other good news, I needed some exercise after my meeting this morning, so I played a round of golf after lunch. The course was busy, and I had a slow pair of what looked like a father and son, about 10 years old, ahead of me. So I had a bit of waiting at each tee for them to clear the fairway ahead of me. And then another pair came up behind me – a girl about 12 years old and (presumably) her brother, maybe 9 or 10 years. I saw their father drop them off at the car park, but COVID restrictions here limit golf groups to a maximum of two people, so the kids were playing by themselves. And they were good! Better golfers than me.

So anyway, they came up behind me as I was waiting to tee off at hole 3. I decided to let them go ahead of me, because I didn’t want the pressure of people coming up behind. I told them that they were better players than I was. After we all finished hole 3, the kids teed off on hole 4 (after a bit of a wait for the father/son pair ahead of them). This is the intimidating hole I’ve posted before:

Hole 4, par 3

You have to hit your tee shot over the creek. I’ve lost a fair few golf balls in there. Anyway, the kids hit immaculate tee shots, the boy landing just off the green and the girl landing on the green. I think they both two-putted for pars. The tee for the next hole was still occupied, so they sat to wait on a bench, facing back towards hole 3, and me at the tee. So they were watching me play.

I hit the tee shot sweetly and it sailed high in the air… bounced right on the green, and rolled to a stop about 2.5 metres from the hole. Not bad! I walked over to the green and lined up the putt… and sank it! I scored a birdie! Only my second one ever, after last week’s. As I walked off the green to my golf bag, the girl called out, “Well done!”

I could have played it cool and suave, but I actually replied excitedly that that was the first birdie I’d ever scored on this course.

But how cool is it to have a stranger watch something you’re doing and spontaneously burst out with a genuine, “Well done!”?

New content today:

Unproductivity

I don’t believe I got any sleep at all last night. Scully was restless and I was concerned for her health after yesterday’s visit to the vet. She kept moving around during the night, which she doesn’t normally do, and eventually got up around 3:30 and wanted to go outside for a toilet.

The good news was I got to see the spectacular conjunction of Jupiter, Mars, the crescent moon, and Saturn, high in the sky. The bad news is that I was tired and mentally worn out all day. I’d planned to write some Darths & Droids strips for discussion with the writing group, but by evening I’d only managed to write one line of dialogue.

But the other good news is that Scully has started eating today and has not vomited at all, and is this evening looking much perkier, after spending much of the day resting quietly.

New content today:

Lightning and vet

Today was busy and exhausting. Workwise, I found a cool new Proof that the Earth is a Globe, that I didn’t even have on my list already, thanks to a reader. It was so cool, I wrote it up today!

In other news, I was preoccupied with Scully, who hasn’t been able to keep any food down since Monday night. She’s been sleepy, and refusing almost all food, and vomiting a few times. My wife took her to the vet today, and they did a blood test and x-ray, which both turned up all clear, so they suspect probably a stomach bug of some sort, which should hopefully resolve in a day or two. She’s got some anti-nausea medication to help keep her food down, and she’s eaten dinner with some gusto, so hopefully she’s okay.

Also, I baked some scones today, since my wife expressed a desire for some, and I thought it was a good idea to spoil her today.

New content today:

Golf and birdies

My golfing friend contacted me this morning and suggested we engage in a friendly COVID-isolation-compliant round of golf this week. (Golf alone or in groups of 2 is allowed under current rules here.) He suggested the pitch-and-putt course where I first learnt to play, and I suggested why not this morning? So we met up there and played 18 holes.

He granted me a handicap of 18, one for each hole, and we played match-play style, to see who could win each hole. And then we decided to jackpot the halved holes, in the style of golf “skins”. As it turned out, my game seems to have progressed to the point where this handicap was a little too generous, as I won 12 1/2 points to his 5 1/2. (And if we’d played standard match play, I won 6 holes to 4.)

On the way home I stopped at my favourite pie shop to get some pies for lunch, and took the opportunity to do some walking around that area for exercise. I also took my camera.

Australian magpie

This is an Australian magpie. Check out the claw on the rear of the right foot.

Australian raven

An Australian raven.

Silver gull

My walk took me past a beach, where there were plenty of silver gulls around.

Australian pelican

And some Australian pelicans.

I didn’t get home until mid-afternoon, and spent most of the rest of it sorting through the photos I’d taken and cataloguing them into my database.

New content today:

A walk in North Sydney

Today was Easter Monday, a public holiday. Although with the current COVID restrictions on going anywhere, it didn’t feel much different to any other day. I made a few comics in the morning, and then after lunch went on a long walk, around the North Sydney area. I took a bunch of photos, and when I got home I looked up the history of a lot of the places I’d photographed and turned it into another virtual walk album I(click to see photos and commentary).

I’m learning a lot about the history of my area by doing this. And I hope it’s interesting to other people, who might also not be able to get out very much.

New content today: