Completing the batch

Today I finished off the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I began working on on Saturday. I had to assemble the second half of the strips using the photos I took yesterday, and then write all of the annotations. I finally finished it off, and will be able to do something else tomorrow. Phew.

Doing some sums, it took me four full days of work – call it eight hours a day, to do 22 strips. So counting the writing, photography, assembly into a comic strip, and writing the annotations, it takes roughly an average of 32/22 = 1.45 hours, let’s call it one and a half hours to produce each comic, from start to finish.

New content today:

Your regular irregularity

Today was full on Irregular Webcomic! production day. I started at 08:00 am, photographing the batch of comics that I wrote over the weekend. That took me up to about 11:0, when I broke to get some lunch and buy some groceries up the street.

I went to the ramen place I discovered a couple of weeks ago. Tonkotsu ramen was again the only option, and I gladly forked over my $12 in cash for a bowl of this rich and delicious concoction. It was wonderful, even despite the hot day and the 90%+ humidity. I left sweating, and took refuge in the supermarket for a while to cool down and grab some shopping.

Back home, I started assembling comics, and have gotten about halfway through. I’ll finish them off tomorrow, hopefully, and then start writing annotations and queueing them up in the database for publication.

And late in the afternoon I took Scully down to the dog park for some running around and playing with other dogs. We normally take a walk along the harbour shore, and sometimes some fo the other dogs go down to the water for a splash around. Scully isn’t too keen on going in the water, so I’ve never gone down there before, but today I decided to try following the others. She got her paws wet, but that was plenty for her – she stood around at the water’s edge while the other dogs went for a swim.

Scully at Berrys Bay

New content today:

Comics and commerce

It was another hot, humid day here in Sydney. I spent most of the day at home, only going out a couple of times to let Scully get some exercise.

The main thing I did today was finish writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. These are now ready for photographing tomorrow. I also spent a bit of time working on configuring the online shop for my photography prints. I’ve got a Square Reader payment processing gadget that Bluetooths to my phone, for processing credit cards while at the market stall, so I was setting that up and testing it out. And fiddling with the configurations and product details in WooCommerce on my website. I need to start thinking of exactly how the prints will be available (sizes, finishes, framing, etc), and how much to charge for them, given the production costs and a reasonable profit.

New content today:

Heat returns

Saturday, and the current heatwave has hit Sydney. It was a hot, humid, and lethargic day. Temperatures got up to 46.8°C in western Sydney, but thankfully only a maximum of 34.8°C near the coast, with the “cool” sea breeze. But this heatwave is different to the last few we’ve had over the past couple of months, in that the humidity is sky high, so it feels a lot more oppressive.

The bushfires have flared up again with this new round of high temperatures, and there’s significant danger that suburbs of Canberra will come under direct threat in the next day or so.

I spent the day writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic!, for photographing some time in the coming week. As well as some housework, shopping, and doing family stuff. Nothing too exciting.

New content today:

Friday Games Night – Throne of Eldraine

Last night was fortnightly Games Night, so this is Friday’s post a bit late.

My contact from the USA who I played golf with last week suggested we try a different course: Cammeray Golf Club. We arrived at 10:00, and the day was already very warm and sunny, so I made sure to put lots of sunscreen on, and wear a large-brimmed hat, and carry a bottle of water.

The Cammeray course is a shortish 9-hole course, no par 5 holes. There were lots of trees down the edges of the fairways, and I took advantage by “playing in the shade” on some holes – i.e. mis-hitting my ball so that I had to hack my way under the trees instead of along the fairway.

Hole 3, Cammeray Golf Club

Above: a view down to the hole 3 green, but this is from about halfway up the hill that leads to the tee position (another group were teeing off as I took the photo). From the tee this is quite a drop down to the green.

Hole 5, Cammeray Golf Club

Hole 5, a longish par 4. We played the course twice through, for a total of 18 holes. My first time on this hole I hacked my way slowly up the fairway, but my second time around I managed a good solid drive, and followed up with a long second shot that landed tantalisingly close to the green – just a few centimetres off it. Essentially I made the “green in regulation” (i.e. reached the green in 2 shots under par – giving me two putts to make par). Alas the putt was very long and I didn’t hit it well, so ended up with 6 strokes.

Hole 6, Cammeray Golf Club

Hole 6 is the water hole. You have to hit directly over this little lake. The lake is unfortunately low because of the current drought conditions – the water level should be a metres or so higher as you can see from the edges. Nevertheless, on this day it sported a nice variety of birdlife: I spotted a white-faced heron (the prominent upright grey bird on the near shore), little black cormorants and little pied cormorants (on the small rocky island), Australian wood ducks (two near the signpost in the bend on the prominent path at left, anther at the base of the large dark tree behind the lake), and masked lapwings (none that I can spot in this photo).

We finished close to 2 pm, and I rested for a while in the clubhouse air conditioning before heading home for a long, cold shower. It was very hot and humid, but good to get some exercise!

In the evening I headed to Games Night, where we began a Magic: the Gathering draft tournament with 8 players, using the recentish Throne of Eldraine set. This set has a fairy tale theme, and I really wanted to give it a try.

During the draft, I mostly picked green cards, and settled on white as a support colour. I considered grabbing a couple of giant spiders, with their ability to block flying creatures, but I realised I was seeing very few flying creatures go past, so I de-prioritised flying defence in favour of other things. I won my first game fairly easily as my opponent struggled to get much on the board. But in my second game, I saw where all the flying creatures had gone! My opponent played four flyers one after the other, and I had no way to stop them, and lost that game quickly.

We played a few more games before it got too late to continue. We’ll finish off the round-robin games in later Games Nights. But everyone agreed that the set was fun and interesting, so it was a big hit!

New content today:

Setting up web shop

Today was a heavy day of working on the nascent web shop for my photography site, and ordering prints of photos for sale stock for the market stall I mentioned yesterday. I formatted four photos for printing in a large size, and placed an order with the printer, choosing some different paper types to test out how they look when printed large. They should take about a week to be ready for me to pick them up, and then I’ll order some more to have enough stock for the market stall in March.

And the other thing I spent a lot of time on today was installing WooCommerce, which is a web shop package, with catalogue, inventory, shopping cart, credit card and PayPal payment handling, and a bunch of other features that are useful for running an online shop. There’s a lot of configuration needed and I’m still figuring out how it all works, but hopefully soon I’ll have some catalogue pages ready for people to browse and buy prints.

Phew!

New content today:

Photography market up and running

Today marked the biggest steps so far in turning my photography into something that can hopefully pay the bills and mean I don’t have to go looking to work for someone else again. I applied for a stall at That Great Market, a small local suburban market in northern Sydney. In the application form I said I wanted to sell art photography prints. After I sent it off, I was metaphorically holding my breath to see what they said…

If they accepted my application, I’d need some stock to sell. I already have a printer set up for large framed prints (see yesterday), but I thought it would be good to have smaller items as well, so today I ordered a batch of greeting cards printed with a selection of my photos. The printer I chose supplies envelopes with the cards, so that’s good. My wife suggested that I should present them professionally by putting each card/envelope in a cellophane slip bag. Searching online found a supplier of those, and I ordered a box of those as well. When these all arrive we’ll have to spend some time collating and inserting the cards into the bags!

Now I can sell all this stuff from an online store – which I still need to set up. I have plans for that, but just need some time to do the necessary installation and configuration.

And then this evening the market responded, saying I could have a stall! They said they were actually looking for a photographer to complement their other stalls, so it was good fortune that I’d applied! I’m definitely taking that as a good sign.

So… I’m now set to have a market stall at Laurelbank, Willoughby, on Sunday 1 March, and at East Lindfield Community Hall on Sunday 15 March and 19 April. I’ll see how they go, and then may extend my stall into future months. If things go well, I’ll look to expand to other markets, including some larger and more well known ones.

This is incredibly exciting… and daunting. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m making up a business plan and listing equipment that I need to get organised before the first market day. Phew!

New content today:

Taking care of business, part 2

(Oh, haha, I see I’ve already used that as a post title…)

Today was dedicated to steps along the road to getting myself set up with a photography sales business. I set up my website a while ago, and now I’m implementing a bunch of stuff necessary to start selling prints. Today I got a monitor colour calibration tool and properly calibrated my monitor, then I prepared a few selected photos in Photoshop files with all the required colour profile settings, ready to send to the printing lab to have them printed on art quality paper. The next stage is to send them off and have a few test prints made. Then I’ll be ready to start selling and shipping them to people.

The other thing is that the printer I’m using can put my photos on their website, with the handful of art photographers that they work with, and start selling online off their website. I’ll also be adding a shop on my own website, to collect orders through my own advertising.

And another thing I did was to register for an Australian Business Number. This is required for all the dull business/tax things that I need to start keeping track of, and filing with the government.

To calibrate my monitor I needed to pick up the tool from the city, and then I realised I needed a calibration print from the printer, so I walked over there to get one. It was a fair walk, and I passed some interesting things along the way:

Mortuary Station

Regent Street Station, formerly known as Mortuary Station, a now disused railway station that used to be the stop where bodies were loaded to be transported to Rookwood Cemetery, in Sydney’s west.

Codenames Blue Spy

Some cool street art. It reminded me of one of the blue spy cards in Codenames.

Austin of England

“Austin of England” car, circa 1951. Showing the typical mud-spattered look that many Sydney cars now sport, due to the combination of dust storms and rainstorms, and water restrictions that make it more difficult to wash cars.

Ravenswood, 1896

Ravenswood, a Federation style building from 1896.

By the time I got home I was very warm and sweaty, from the humid heat that has settled over Sydney in the past couple of weeks. But it was an exciting day for another reason! Today was Scully’s first day on the job as a Delta Therapy Dog!

Delta Dog

Here she is in uniform, ready to go to work at Royal North Shore Hospital. My wife is her official Delta handler, and they both had to pass training and evaluation to qualify for this role. They’re doing patient visits in the orthopaedics ward at the hospital, to help cheer the patients up and improve their recovery. I’m extremely proud of both of them – when I first heard of this program I didn’t think it was a serious possibility for them to qualify for it. But I’m very happy they did!

New content today:

Long weekend Monday

Today I spent time with my wife again, since it was a holiday. We decided to go out for morning tea to a cafe we like that’s about an hour’s drive away, in the semi-rural outer suburbs of Sydney, called Geranium Cottage. (Yes, the website looks like it was designed in the 1990s.)

We like it there because they do a good plate of scones with strawberry jam and cream. We split one of those, and also a serve of the home made banana and walnut bread. Wife had coffee, but not being a caffeine drinker I stuck with water. The menu here is full of tempting treats, and they also had a chocolate brownie, which the menu annotated with “(very rich)”. So we sat for a while enjoying the rural ambience, and then ordered one of those too. I was so full after this that I didn’t bother having lunch at all, and ate nothing until dinner this evening.

On the way home we stopped at a small park where Scully could run around off lead and get some exercise. We park across the road in the yard of an historic church, St Jude’s Anglican of Dural. The original church building is a small sandstone structure completed in 1848, which now paints a picturesque scene:

St Jude's Anglican, Dural

And the rear:

St Jude's Anglican, Dural

It looks like it can only fit about a dozen people inside. It’s preserved now as a heritage listed building. On the grounds is also a larger, more modern building, which is presumably used for services these days.

We’ve just been watching some TV shows this evening. We’re getting into the second season of Lost in Space on Netflix, and we also watched some comedy shows on broadcast channels. It’s good to sit back and have a laugh every now and then.

New content today:

Long weekend Sunday

Today was Australia Day. There aren’t really any specific traditions associated with the day – it’s just a day off work for people, and they usually hang out with family or friends, have a barbecue, and go for a swim at the beach or something. Although being on a Sunday, most people already have the day off, so we pragmatically have an extra public holiday tomorrow on Monday so we don’t feel ripped off. 😃

I spent the day with my wife and Scully. We went out to get some pies for lunch (which is pretty Australian, so that works!), and then popped into her mum’s place for an afternoon visit. She lives in a place overlooking part of Sydney Harbour, one of the sheltered coves leading up to a river. Normally there are a handful of boats out there, but today the cove was packed with them, full of people having fun, eating, drinking, and jumping in the water to cool off.

Australia Day cove

The weather has turned really humid after the hot, dry December we had. It was only 32°C today, but maybe 70-80% humidity, which made it more oppressive. I took my swimming gear in case I decided I wanted to have a swim, but I couldn’t get enthused enough to bother changing. Instead I took Scully for a short walk along the shoreline, but even she decided to turn around and head for home before long out there.

We got some groceries on the way home, and I made vege fajitas for dinner.

New content today: