Comic photos day

It was a busy day today. First thing off the agenda was the weekly grocery shop. Normally it’s a short drive up to the supermarket, but today there was some sort of traffic blockage on the street I normally take. I could see police lights flashing, and the traffic at a standstill. So I turned off into a back street and took a roundabout route, which took me several minutes longer, but probably faster than waiting to get through the blockage.

When I got home, I started doing photography for the batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips that I finished writing yesterday. I got about halfway through and then took a break for lunch. I walked up to the oval and ran a 1k, and managed my fastest time, a second faster than previously, at 4:25.

I grabbed some lunch on the way home, and then finished off photographing the comics. Then it was time to go pick up Scully from my wife’s office, and bring her home. Then shortly after that my wife came home, and we went out for dinner at the local pizza place.

Oh, I forgot to post a photo I took yesterday of the cool change hitting after the hot day:

Cold change

New content today:

A slower run

Monday morning was time for my 5k run for the week. I took a gentle pace, but felt like I was really pushing myself hard today, and having to struggle to keep going. I was hoping this meant I was clocking a fast time. I miscounted my laps again, discovering I was one short and had to keep going for another lap. But even though I got my sprint finish in, I recorded 27:53, which is slower than my last four times. I guess it just wasn’t my day today.

For lunch today I decided to make a fancy grilled cheese sandwich. I used three types of cheese: cheddar, Jarlsberg, and Parmigiano; added a spread of caramelised onion relish, and then sliced gherkins I used the kibble rye sourdough that we’d bought yesterday. It turned out delicious!

Other than that, I spent much of the day assembling new Darths & Droids comics.

Oh, I forgot to mention yesterday that Scully has notified us that the bindii is sprouting thorns for the spring. She’s started avoiding patches of grass where bindii grows, and sure enough, when I bent down to feel it, the thorns have appeared. Fortunately, as we discovered last year, the thorns are only there for a couple of months, and go away by summer.

New content today:

5.4k run

It was about time for another 5k run today, and the weather was fine, so I set out early, leaving home before 9 am. Unfortunately I miscounted my laps again today, although this time instead of thinking I’d finished when I still had a lap to go, I accidentally ran an extra lap. Since I sprint for the last half lap or so, I didn’t have the advantage of having that faster half lap included in my 5k split time, so my time was a bit slower today, at 27:16, my fourth fastest.

After that I walked up to my dentist’s office and gave the receptionist a pack of photo prints for the dentist to look through – hoping to keep it in his mind to select one of my photos to redecorate his waiting room (as mentioned last week).

This afternoon I did some comic writing stuff, and then took Scully to the dog park for a walk and playing time with other dogs. The park we got to is 5 minutes drive away. Usually on the way there Scully just lies down in the passenger seat of the car, but on the way back she’s worked up and stands up, putting her paws on the centre console to get a view out the windows. Today she learnt a new trick… she stood on the radio button, turning it on and…

Well, let’s just say that Scully has learnt how to Rickroll me.

New content today:

Back into running

After last week’s relative laziness, I returned to doing a 5k run today. I figured after a two week break I wouldn’t be setting a best time today, and I took it fairly easy. But it turned out that I clocked 27:02, my third best time, and only a second behind my second best time. And although I was certainly ready to stop by the end of it, I didn’t really feel like I was pushing myself hard today. I guess my body is getting more used to running that distance!

On the way home I treated myself to a couple of vegetable pies from the pie shop near the sports oval. A “pumpkin, coriander, and cheese” pie which also has a layer of mashed potato inside. The pumpkin is blended smooth and very soft, really like a thick pumpkin soup, and the cheese is a soft creamy sort, a bit like sour cream. It’s a nice pie, but feels a bit insubstantial. The second was a spinach, corn, and cheese, which is more solid and features a feta-like cheese.

This afternoon I worked on some photo processing and updating of some old travel diaries. And took Scully to the dog park. It was a lot warmer out late this afternoon than it had been even at lunch time. I checked the Weather Bureau and the temperature in Sydney was still rising around 4pm – it got up to almost 22°C.

New content today:

Side strain, taking it easy

I think on Sunday when I played golf I slightly pulled a muscle in the left side of my torso. It didn’t bother me much on Monday, but during the night last night I woke up and went to the toilet, then when I came back and had to move Scully from my spot on the bed, I bent over and the muscle really twinged badly. I slept poorly after that, and today got up with a real strain there, very sore and restricting my twisting and bending movement.

I think sleeping on it made it worse, as it got better during the day. I would have gone for a 5k run today, but decided to take it a bit easy. Although I didn’t want to just sit around the house all day, so I did walk up to the oval and then ran just 1 kilometre, to see if I could record a better time than the 1k split on my 5k runs. My best 1k split was 4:59, but today I ran 4:33. It felt like a lot faster pace and I was worn out after the 1k – I definitely wouldn’t have been able to keep that pace up much longer. I might try and mix up between 1k and 5k to improve both my sprinting and my endurance.

And something unusual I found out about today: Moonlight towers. These are urban lighting done by erecting tall towers with bright lights that cast light over large areas – up to several blocks in size. (Rather than multiple dimmer lights on shorter poles, which is now almost universal.)

New content today:

New best time

I worked on some secret projects today, so don’t have too much to report.

I did go for another 5k run, now that the rain has finally stopped. And set a new best time.

5k run times

Previous best was 27:01, so I was keen to get under 27 minutes. And I managed 26:32 today, so that was a lot of time taken off! I’m definitely feeling that it’s a bit easier to maintain a slightly higher pace, now that I’m getting more used to it. Although when running laps of the oval there are often other people running around and overtaking me – there were maybe 5 or 6 of them today.

Oh, I got a Kickstarter package in the mail today – an old one that I backed some time ago, for some fantasy adventures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics roleplaying game. I still have a handful of Kickstarters that I backed as long ago as 2015 that are yet to deliver their rewards. I haven’t backed any recently, since I’m watching my expenditure a bit more carefully these days.

New content today:

Last meal…

Today was a pretty routine day. I took Scully for a walk, lost a tennis ball in the Harbour… on my very first throw as well. There’s a park I take her to next to the water, and the grass just runs up to an edge and then drops off into the water. I try to avoid having the ball roll off but I must have lost half a dozen balls in that water. And once it’s in, there’s no way to get it back (without a fishing net on a pole or getting very wet). So rather than have her chase the ball, I just had to run around and have her chase me to get some exercise.

I spent much of the rest of the day writing Darths & Droids comics, chatting with co-authors on our Discord server.

And I had my last meal… until Thursday. I’m into the final day of fasting before a colonoscopy on Thursday. I can’t eat anything on Wednesday, though I need to have lots of water and stuff with sugars and salts in it to stay hydrated.

So tonight for a last meal I made something a bit special for dinner. Pancakes with mushrooms. It sounds weird, I know, but I got the idea from a vegetarian restaurant we went to some time back. They had a dish that was a small stack of savoury pancakes, topped with a medley of fried mushrooms in a delicious sauce. It was delicious, and I’ve copied it and made a similar dish at home a few times. It fit within my pre-colonoscopy-week dietary restrictions and I decided it would be a nice treat.

New content today:

Running improvement

Today I mailed off some original artwork from Planet of Hats to a reader who was keen to buy one of the comics. Thanks to that reader!

At lunch time I forced myself to go do another 5k run, having managed it on the last three Thursdays. This time I started at a bit of a faster pace for a couple of laps before settling into a steady rhythm. I’m still really having to push myself to keep going around the halfway mark and the second half is a real struggle, but I managed to finish and recorded a time of 27:01, 51 seconds faster than last week!

5k run times

I plotted my times for the past 4 weeks on a graph and showed my friends. One of them, who has been doing all sorts of curve fitting to local COVID data lately, analysed the trend and told me that in another 8 months I should be able to run 5 kilometres in zero time. I’m really looking forward to after that point, when if I need some extra time to do things I can go for a run and gain some time back.

Hmm… I just learnt now, as I was typing this, that a COVID positive person visited my local supermarket on Monday, between 10:30 and 11am, and an alert has been issued for anyone shopping there during this time to monitor for symptoms. I went shopping there on Monday morning – although I’m pretty sure I’d left by 10:30. Yikes! They’re saying the risk is low – they have not issued a “self-isolate and get tested” order.

New content today:

Fitness day!

Today I met my friend to play golf at the Par 3 Pitch and Putt course. My relative handicap was reduced down to 15 after I won last time with 16. (We play match play with jackpotting of halved holes.) But today I was really on fire, and my friend was struggling a bit, and I ended up trouncing him 14 points to 4. Without the handicap, my total score for 18 holes was only 3 strokes higher than his. So next time we play, my handicap will go down again.

I also managed the only birdie of the day, with a monster putt – it was in the range 15-20 metres long, and curved a good metre and a half to the right as it rolled along the green. So I’m pretty happy with that.

On the way home I stopped off at my favourite pie shops for lunch, having a pepper steak pie and a chicken/asparagus/corn one. Normally I go for more exotic flavours – they do a really nice butter chicken and a good Thai curry chicken pie – but I decided to try things I wouldn’t normally get today, and they were good.

I rested a bit at home, and then took off for this week’s 5k run! My goal was to beat last week’s 28:05, and today I managed 27:52. Let me tell you, it’s a real struggle in those middle laps to keep going. Fortunately I didn’t miscount laps like last week, so didn’t have to pick up and run another lap when I thought I’d finished!

Back at home I made potato salad for dinner, to go with some vegetarian sausages. I do love a good potato salad.

New content today:

Nerdsniped

Today I started working on a new one of my “100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe“. It’s the first one I’ve started for some time, because I’ve been distracted at home a lot with my wife working from home and haven’t been able to sit down knowing that I could work uninterrupted for several hours at a time. But today I just knuckled down and got started despite that. Normally I’d finish an article the same day I start, but I’m only about half way through, so hopefully I’ll be able to finish and post it tomorrow.

I took a break at lunch time to go do another 5k run. My fastest time for the 5k last year was 29:06, and last week I managed 29:16, so today my goal was to break 29 minutes. Unfortunately I miscounted laps and after sprinting the last couple of hundred metres and bending over exhausted to catch my breath while I checked my time on my phone, I discovered that I’d only covered 4.6 km! I still had a lap to go! I had to put the disappointment aside immediately and get the legs working again and set off on another lap…

But I managed it! My time for the full 5k today was 28:05. While running the last few laps I felt pretty exhausted and again really had to push through it mentally to avoid stopping, but now a few hours later my legs definitely don’t feel nearly as tired as last week.

I boasted to my friends on our online chat. One asked me if I was running laps of a street route, but I said no, the streets here are much too hilly for me to run, so I do laps of the nearby sports oval. And then this conversation happened:

Friend: Actually your run is consistent with orbiting a very dense object at the centre of the oval. #100ProofsGoreHillOvalIsABlackHole

Me: hmm…. I could calculate the mass, given the radius and speed… Damn, now I have to do it.

And I did. Approximating the oval as a circle and using the equation for a circular orbit: v = √(GM/r) gives the mass M of an object needed to cause me to orbit it at speed v and radius r. My speed was 5000/(28×60+5) = 2.97 m/s. I ran 11 full laps, totalling 5.14 km, so the radius of the oval is approximately (5140 m)/(11 laps)/(2π) = 74.4 m. Plugging the numbers in gives M = 9.81×1012 kg. Which is basically 1013 kg to any sensible degree of accuracy.

According to Wikipedia, 1013 kg is almost exactly the mass of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Which is a little large to fit inside the oval. But never fear, for it’s also roughly the mass of two teaspoonfuls of degenerate neutron matter, which one could easily fit into the middle of a sports oval. If that much degenerate neutron matter had been in the middle of the oval, I could have stayed in orbit about it by running in a straight line. Although I suspect my orbit would decay rapidly after 5 km of running…

Friend: I’m so happy I nerdsniped you into doing this.

And just to include a photo: for dinner tonight I made a vegetable quiche, stuffed with potato, cauliflower, pumpkin, broccolini, onion, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and cheese:

Vegetable quiche

New content today: