Start of the week, end of the week

It’s Monday, which is traditionally the start of the working week. However for me I treat it as the end of the week, because it’s the last day of teaching the current ethics topic on Outschool. I start the new topic on Wednesday (and on Tuesday I have no classes). So it was the end of the Wealth and Poverty topic. Honestly, it’s one I’m happy to see the end of, because it was a tough topic to navigate without making the questions too leading for the kids. By today I’d managed to mentally rearrange things to get the best out of it and make it flow better than my initial ordering, and I’d come up with some extra talking points and questions on the fly that I incorporated in later lessons.

I managed to sleep decently well last night. I did wake up a couple of times – I always do, I’m a light sleeper – but I managed to drift off again before the noise of the past two nights got into my head. It was there again, but I successfully defeated it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that again tonight. This evening I tried knocking on the neighbour’s door that I estimate to be the most likely source of the noise, but they didn’t answer. I’ll try again tomorrow during the day.

So I slept in this morning, not getting up until after 8 o’clock. That meant I didn’t have time for breakfast and making/kneading a sourdough loaf and going for my run before my first class at 10am. So I delayed the run until later in the day. My wife wanted to go to the gym during her lunch break (from working from home), so I took Scully out on a big walk and grabbed some lunch on the way.

It was pretty hot in the middle of the day, so I delayed my run until later. I eventually got to it about 6pm, when it had cooled down to 26°C, which is still really a bit warm for running.

During the afternoon I worked on assembling new Irregular Webcomic! strips for this week. I also made a D&D monster for the January challenge in my Outschool D&D group. I post a monthly design challenge for the kids in the group, and at the end of each month we share our designs. For January I suggested designing a hybrid creature monster, along the lines of the classic owlbear – melding together two unexpected animals. So here’s mine:

Sharkle stat block

New content today:

Last day of holidays

It’s Monday, the public holiday in lieu of the New Year’s Day holiday which was on Saturday. Tomorrow is back to work for many people after the Christmas/New Year break, including my wife, and myself, as I begin teaching classes on Outschool again tomorrow after my break.

Today was warm and summery. We went for a long walk with Scully in the mid-afternoon, and were pretty hot by the time we got home.

I worked on writing the lesson plan for the new week of ethics lessons – the topic for the week is “laws”. Asking questions like why we have laws, and what gives a government (or anyone else for that matter) the authority to make and enforce laws?

Another thing I’ve been doing today is downloading PDFs of the old TSR Dungeon magazines, containing Dungeons & Dragons (and occasionally other game) adventures. Someone on reddit linked to a Wizards of the Coast approved (hence legally available) archive of all 221 issues on archive.org. I remember when Dungeon was first published, and I had print copies of issues 1 and 2, though I never bought any more as I had very limited money at the time, and I preferred the broader gaming subject matter of Dragon magazine. So being able to have the entire collection as PDFs is amazing. And not only is there a copyright-holder-approved archive of Dungeon magazines, but there are Dragon magazines there too.

New content today:

New Year’s Eve – end of 2021

I don’t really do end of year retrospectives, so let’s just cut to the chase and see what I did today.

I got up early and headed straight to the supermarket. I managed to book the earliest available timeslot for grocery pickup, which I took because I figures the earlier in the morning I’m there, the fewer potentially COVID-infected people will be around. I grabbed my order and was out of there within about a minute. I also popped into the bakery and grabbed a loaf of Vienna style bread for a special dinner for tonight.

After getting home, I went for my run, and then after that I finally had breakfast. This is very unusual – I normally have breakfast within a few minutes of getting up, so I’m not used to waiting any length of time before eating in the morning.

Continuing from yesterday’s window cleaning, I did more spring cleaning stuff. First I attended to the balcony door and glass panels. I took the sliding insect screen door off the track and washed it clean, then cleaned all of the glass door panels. After remounting the screen door, I continued washing the balcony, which is really a job I should do more often as it collects blown leaves and dust quite quickly.

Inside, I decided to clean out some wardrobe space which has been dedicated to keeping boxes from products such as our cameras, iPads, phones, and laptops. I kept the boxes in case we ever sold the items, but given that we’ve sold exactly zero in 20-odd years, I figure maybe it was time to just get rid of them and reclaim the storage space for something useful.

I took Scully for a walk over lunch while my wife went to the gym. We went over to the fish and chip shop where I got some fish & chips for lunch. I ate at my favourite local lookout spot, with a view over the city. it was a warm sunny day, with not a cloud in the sky. Fortunately, after some vandal poisoned the shade trees at the lookout spot a few years back, one new tree has grown to provide shade on the bench where I sit again.

Back home, I realised there was something I needed to do by the end of the month! The Outschool Dungeons & Dragons group that I run for kids has a monthly adventure writing challenge, and for December I posted a challenge to write an adventure featuring a spooky lighthouse. I said I’d post my own adventure at the end of the month, so now I had to write one. I knuckled down and typed out 100 words of adventure material in a few hours, which I then formatted with some of my own photos as illustrations and exported to PDF, before posting it to the group. Phew!

For dinner tonight, New Year’s Eve, we have something special. For starters I used the figs I bought the other day to make grilled figs with ricotta and honey:

Grilled figs with ricotta and honey

After that was the main course, baked brie in bread with hazelnuts and honey:

Baked brie in bread with hazelnuts and honey

Just look at that melty cheese!

Baked brie in bread with hazelnuts and honey

That’s the way to put back in all those calories burnt doing exercise and housework today!

It’s now still a few hours before midnight and 2022. I hope you all have a good New Year’s Eve, and that 2022 brings us all some relief from this miserable pandemic thing.

New content today:

Tech panic!

I woke up this morning, got out of bed, grabbed my bowl of muesli and yoghurt, and sat down to check my emails and stuff from overnight.

When the computer screen came on, there was a system dialogue. It said the most recent backup attempt had failed. And…

… that the most recent available backup was from some date in 2018.

Now, I’m no expert in how Apple’s Time Machine backups work, but that seemed somewhat sub-optimal. I didn’t have time to do much about it, as I had to get ready and head to school to teach my weekly Ethics class. So I set it to try and do another backup while I was out, and headed off.

I taught my class, and popped into the supermarket to buy a few things we’d run out of, and came home, to find the new backup had also failed. A quick discussion with some of my more tech-savvy friends confirmed what I suspected – it was time to get a new backup drive. I ordered one online, for pickup, not delivery, so I could get it today. It was ready to pick up pretty quickly, and I caught a train a few suburbs over to get it.

While I was out, I decided to grab some lunch, and had some tonkotsu ramen at a place in the shopping centre. It was okay, but I’ve had better. I picked up my new hard drive, and then since there’s a game shop there I popped into have a quick look at the games. They had copies of the new D&D book: Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. I had a quick flip through and it looked like the sort of thing I’d like to read through fully and mine for ideas, so I bought a copy, with the limited edition alternative art cover. When 5th Edition first came out, I bought every book as it was released, but now I’m being more selective, as I don’t really have much use for some of the books they’ve been releasing lately (e.g. Candlekeep Mysteries, Eberron).

When I got home I plugged in the new drive, formatted it, set it as the new Time Machine backup drive, and started a full backup. Now, seven hours later, it’s still going, although it should finish in less than another hour. And then I can breathe easy again…

New content today: