A weird weather record

Australia set a new weather record today. The highest barometric pressure ever recorded in the country, at 1044.6 hectopascals. Here’s a news story about it. Clearly this is an unusual weather event. The high pressure system is enormous and basically stalled over the country, meaning the cold and rainy weather we’re having isn’t going anywhere for several more days.

Besides the usual ethics classes, I did online grocery shopping for pickup tomorrow morning, and I submitted that standards proposal I mentioned yesterday. I ran out of time to do it yesterday because it needed to be done via an online portal, and I had to ask my contact there where to find that. I got the information this morning, so sent it in.

I also sold another Magic: the Gathering card online, and had to dash up to the post office to send it off. And took Scully for a longish walk, down to the wharf and back. Thankfully the rain seems to be concentrated in the evening and overnight, and the day was actually pleasant around lunchtime.

And I did stage 21 of the Lego Dungeons & Dragons set. This completes the exterior rustic staircase and adds a roof over the first floor, with a cool little balcony at the top.

Lego D&D set, stage 21

Lego D&D set, stage 21

New content today:

Tradition, innovation, and standards

This morning I wrote up my lesson plan for the new week’s ethics class on the topic of “Tradition vs Innovation”. I decided to include the story about how Kodak in the 1970s and 80s suppressed digital camera technology by buying up patents and not developing the tech themselves, in order to keep their photographic film business profitable. Of course eventually other companies developed alternative digital technology and the genie got let out of the bottle, resulting in a rapid uptake of digital cameras and the collapse of the film market, and ultimately the bankruptcy of Kodak. I use this to frame several questions about the conflict between old methods and new innovations.

In one of my classes tonight on this topic, I had a new student, from Saudi Arabia, my first from that country. That brings my total list of students’ countries to 54. Unfortunately he was a bit too young for the class, and I think overwhelmed by the discussion. I had to advise his parent to remove him from the class afterwards, and maybe try again in a year or so.

I also worked today on writing up a form to propose a new revision of an ISO photography standard to be adopted as an Australian standard. I was supposed to do this asap after the last meeting we had, but hadn’t got around to it. Since our next Australian committee meeting is on Friday, I thought I better do it!

Today was again very cold, but the rain held off for the most part during daylight. Scully and I did cop a light sprinkle while out for a long lunchtime walk. But the clouds opened up around sunset and now as I type this it’s pouring down out there. Not looking forward to taking Scully out for her pre-bedtime toilet.

New content today:

A day of comic writing

I concentrated today on getting ahead in Darths & Droids writing and strip production.

That meant I didn’t do a lot else, except take Scully for a couple of walks and make sourdough. And fried rice for dinner.

It was very cold, but the rain held off in the daylight hours. I think we are likely to get more overnight.

New content today:

The cold and wet continues

Sometimes I think the weather is all I talk about here. I suppose it’s something that can be different every day, whereas some days what I actually do is just routine, without anything especially unusual or interesting. Anyway, yeah, the predicted cold and wet spell has well and truly begun. it wasn’t actually raining all day and we had a few bursts of sunshine, but it was pretty cold.

I walked Scully up to the pie shop for lunch. Normally I sit in the nearby park and eat Scully roam around a bit while I eat, but today she headed off towards the path home and wouldn’t come back. Clearly she’d had enough of the cold weather! So we walked back and I ate while we walked.

I have 6 ethics classes today, but several of them were low in numbers, because a lot of the kids are taking summer breaks in the northern hemisphere. And the morning classes are mostly US kids, and several of those have things going on this week with the 4th of July coming up. So some classes where I normally have 3 or 4 kids were down to one student.

Stage 20 of the Lego D&D set! his adds a rear wall to the first floor, and a rustic staircase that leads up to another floor above.

Lego D&D set, stage 20

Hidden under the stairs is a spider!

Lego D&D set, stage 20

And a rear view, showing an upper level door. I’m not sure yet why it makes sense to have a door here. Maybe it connects with the upper level of the castle section previously built.

Lego D&D set, stage 20

New content today:

Return of the cold and rain

Today was really cold. The temperature barely reached 14°C, after yesterday’s 20°C. And it rained a fair bit overnight, and then sprinkled fitfully throughout the day. The Bureau of Meteorology tells us that this is a strong cold front, running into a blocking high pressure system that will stall it over the continent again, producing nearly identical conditions to when we had 13 straight days of rain back in May. The published forecast for the next week is heavy rain every day, and colder temperatures after the past week of slightly more mild conditions. So it’s going to be pretty awful.

I basically stayed in and tried to stay warm today. Except for taking Scully for a short walk around lunch time. (My wife took her for another just before dinner time.)

My legs stiffened up a bit after yesterday’s 5k run, following two weeks of not running. I need to try to get back into a routine of running at least once or twice a week, but it may be difficult in the coming week with the weather. It was really too cold and miserable today to even consider going for a run.

Here’s stage 19 of the Lego Dungeons & Dragons set that I’m still building. This is the first floor of the tower that I built the ground floor of over the past few updates.

Lego D&D set, stage 19

The hole in the floor is where the staircase from the ground floor rises up and leads to this floor, when the two floors are assembled together. There’s also a… trap door!

Lego D&D set, stage 19

You can see the trap door open on the left of that weird orb thing on the altar.

And in other news I booked our hotel in Tokyo for our trip to Japan in February. We passed the info on to my wife’s mother and sister, and they’ve booked into the same hotel.

New content today:

D&D and a big walk

Friday night was Dungeons & Dragons night! During the day I had my usual ethics classes, and in between I prepared by cleaning up the house. It needed a thorough vacuum, and cleaning the bathroom, so that took a bit of time. I also did some last minute prep work for the game, running through the adventure quickly and printing out some new character sheets for characters who had levelled up since last time.

We had a new player join us, an old friend of mine who I played with many years ago. She was the player of the original Alvissa in the fantasy game that I based Irregular Webcomic! on, and also Paris in the science fiction game that I based that them on. One of my other regular players was Draak and Spanners, and it was the first time the two players had seen each other for a few years, so that was a nice reunion.

Our new player rolled up a character using random rolls, and decided to be a magic-user. Notgandalf the usual magic-user wasn’t present (because his player is on an overseas trip), so extra spellpower was useful. They started a new adventure, investigating an old temple hidden behind a waterfall, dedicated to an old god of swords. They didn’t get very far into it, spending a lot of time dealing with some interesting traps, some serpent people, and a nasty gelatinous cube.

Today my wife got up early because she had a special Open Day event at her work, and had to be there to set up by 8am. I spent the morning working on a report for Standards Australia on the recent ISO Photography meeting that I attended. I need to do one of these for each international meeting, before our follow-up Australian meeting, which is scheduled for this coming Friday.

At lunch timeI walked up to my wife’s work with Scully to meet her there. They had a sausage sizzle going, and I had a sausage sandwich as part of lunch. They also had people baking fresh scones, served with jam and cream, and we got a pair of those to eat as well together after my wife had finished her shift.

Then we walked from there up to Cammeray so she could get a coffee. I grabbed another small snack from Maggio’s Italian bakery to complete a piecemeal lunch. And then from there we walked home. Bu the time we got home, Scully and I had covered 6 km of walking.

After we walked all the way home, I rested for a bit before heading out for a 5k run. It’s the first run I’ve done in 2 weeks, since last weekend was so wet and cold and miserable. I took it a bit easy. But I overtook a man and woman jogging together on one street in the same direction as me. Then when I was doing the loop around the end of the peninsula, I passed them again, going the opposite away around the loop. And then coming back from the peninsula, I overtook them again. They must have taken a shorter route around the loop, because I was definitely running faster than them, but they got ahead of me somehow. And then I turned off the ain street into some backstreets that zig and zag a bit, and when I was further along, they appeared from another side street and I overtook them for a fourth time! By now they were laughing and chatting to me as I went past, and I exchanged a few friendly words, saying that I was nearly finished my 5k for the day.

This evening my wife and I went up to the local shops for dinner at an Indian restaurant. I also dropped off a couple of D&D 5e adventure books that I’m never going to use with some of the D&D players at Professor Plums. I’d organised to sell some at cheap prices to some of the other DMs there.

New content yesterday:

New content today:

Cleaning out the fridge

I ticked off another overdue bit of housework today: cleaning out the fridge. I took an hour or so to remove everything from the shelves and trays and door compartments. I removed the glass shelves and washed them clean with detergent, dried them, and put them back in. Cleaned out the vegetable crisper drawer of all the little bits of old vegetables that had accumulated. And wiped down every other surface until the whole thing is as new. I did it in stages, moving things around inside the fridge so that I didn’t have to leave cold things out on the bench for an hour. There was just enough room. I had to do it just before a weekly grocery shop, because if I tried to do it tomorrow after shopping there would have been too much stuff in there.

Not much else to report for today. The rest of it was pretty much the usual old stuff. Ethics classes in the morning and evening. Walking Scully at lunch time. Made a sourdough loaf.

Oh, I did work a little on my Dungeons & Dragons campaign, preparing for tomorrow night’s game. I added up all the treasure from last session, assigned shares and experience points, and determined that the two dwarves in the party and the cleric retainer all levelled up. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game!

New content today:

Handyman level-up: locksmith skills!

We’ve been having trouble with the deadlatch on our front door for a while. Normally you can turn the lock on the inside and have it hold in the open position so that you can then use the same hand to open the door handle and open the door. But for a while now it’s been slipping from the hold-open position and relocking the latch, so you need a second hand free to hold the deadlatch open at the same time as opening the door handle. Meaning you can’t exit with anything in one hand.

I’ve been putting it off for a while, thinking I could try removing the deadlatch and seeing if there was anything I could adjust inside to enable the hold-open mechanism and stop it from slipping. Well, this morning I finally got the screwdriver out and removed the latch body from the back of the door. I looked inside and saw that the hold-open mechanism relied on a friction catch between a rotating plate and a surrounding fixed plate. It seems like the metal has worn away slightly with age. I’d been hoping I could just tighten a screw or something, but this looked like it had just worn out with usage.

So after having some lunch I went to the hardware store and bought a new deadlatch. This turned out to take some time, because it’s one of those items that isn’t on the general shelves, because it’s valuable or for security reasons or whatever. There’s just cards that you have to take to the service desk, where they give you the item.

Of course there was a huge queue at the service desk. Eventually I got to the front of the queue. I could see the deadlatches on a shelf behind the counter. I could have reached them, but the woman who served me was shortish, so she couldn’t reach them. I thought she’d use a stepladder, but no. She had to go get a powered lift – one with a stand-on lift platform on top of a moving vehicle thing. It was parked outside the service counter a few metres away. The queue of people waiting to be served was in the way, so she had to get other staff members to help her clear everyone to a different waiting area, so she could drive the lift through.

Then she tried to start the lift. It wouldn’t turn on. She called for some other staff to bring over another powered lift from elsewhere in the store… The whole time I’m thinking to myself if you just let me behind the counter I can reach up and grab the lock off the shelf myself.

Anyway, eventually I got the new deadlatch and took it home. Now, how difficult was it going to be to replace the old one? Well, I already knew how to remove the rear lock mechanism from the door-mounted plate, so I did that again. Then came the trickiest part…

Removing the new latch from the plastic clamshell case. I started using a screwdriver to kind of tear the plastic open, but slipped and sliced my finger. I got two slash cuts on the ring finger or my right hand, and had to go put iodine and a band-aid on it. I got my Stanley knife to teach the clamshell case a lesson and managed to extract the new latch without further injury.

I took the new latch rear assembly and stuck it on the existing door plate, screwed it in tight, and ta-da! The whole job was done in less than 5 minutes from getting the packaging open. Tested it and it works fine. I didn’t bother removing and replacing the front barrel, so we can still use our old keys to get in. The rear key barrel uses the new keys, but that’s okay. If it means saving $200+ labour cost on a locksmith doing the same (5 minute!) job, I’ll live with it.

I also did some cleaning up today. I have to get the place into shape for Friday night, when friends are coming over for our next Dungeons & Dragons session. And tonight started the “Prejudice” topic with three ethics classes.

New content today:

Prep and Prejudice

This morning I worked on a lesson plan for the coming week of ethics classes. This week’s topic will be “Prejudice”. I did this topic back in 2021, when I had almost entirely different students. I still have one student who was doing my class back then, so he’s done this topic before. But I figured I could reuse a bit of the material and revamp it with some new stuff to keep it fresh. So I mashed together the old lesson and some new scenarios and questions.

Then I did forward planning for future topics, adding one on “Psychic Policing”. This is inspired by Minority Report and similar ideas. If precognition was real and proven, should we arrest people before they commit crimes? I did a brief outline of some sample questions to post on my class’s upcoming topics list. I’ll write up the lesson in detail in a few weeks when it cycles to the top of the list.

This afternoon I struggled with writer’s block on some Darths & Droids scripts. I’m trying hard to get ahead, but sometimes a single joke takes 3 or 4 hours to write, and there’s just nothing you can do about it but knock your head against a wall.

For Scully’s lunchtime walk we went up the hill to the shops, because I needed to restock some medicinal products from the pharmacy. And we went on another walk with my wife when she got home from work. I considered going for a run, but by the time I could set out the sun was already going down and it would have been dark by the time I finished. Not to mention really cold. I guess I’ll have to leave running again until the weekend.

New content today:

Sudden cranes

I had four classes this morning, which ate up half the day. At lunch time I took Scully for a walk to get some fish & chips. We walked past the construction site of the new apartment complex that is being built and I was surprised to see that three giant cranes have sprung up over the weekend.

Three cranes

I also popped into the post office to get a box to pack an old unopened Lego set that I’d sold on eBay. It was a 1999 Star Wars X-wing set that I’d bought back then because it was on sale. I bought two of them and never bothered opening one of them. I checked recently, and unopened copies of this set sell for several hundred dollars! So I auctioned it off, and got $310 for it. So I had to get a packing box to mail it – to Switzerland! Back home I packed the set up with lots of bubble wrap. And then had to trek out to the post office again to send it.

In other news, we’re planning a trip to Tokyo next February, to coincide with one of my ISO Photography meetings. My wife wanted to go to Japan again, so she can do things while I’m in the meetings. And she invited her mother and sister to come too – they’ve never been to Japan before, so they were excited and we all booked tickets on the same flights.

New content today: