5k run + brisket burger

I had a mixed bag in the health stakes today. I did a 5k run, and then I blew it all by having a barbecue beef brisket burger for lunch. This was at the Naremburn shops, where I usually get something from the bakery, but today I tried something from the fish & chip shop, though I eschewed the fish & chips and looked at their burger menu, and was attracted by the brisket burger. It was very good and I have no regrets.

While walking home, a bird pooped on my hat. Now, this probably wouldn’t have stood out enough for me to report it here, except for something which I also didn’t bother to mention yesterday: a gull pooped square on the top of my (hatless) head yesterday too! It was after I’d picked up the games from the game shop and was walking towards the university for the evening lecture. I went via Darling Harbour, which is populated by numerous gulls, and one too a dump right above me as I was walking and… yeah… it was very unpleasant. Fortunately I was very close to a public toilet and it had copious soap and paper towels, so I managed to wash my hair in the sink and dry it off adequately before eventually heading to my pad Thai dinner and the university. Today I just washed my hat when I got home.

Tonight I started the topic of “Music” with my ethics classes. I think this is a good lighter topic after last week talking about brain uploading, which weirded a few of the kids out. Everyone tonight felt excited and happy to talk about music, which was good!

This afternoon I had a bit of spare time to start looking at my photos from Amsterdam in June last year. I still haven’t fully gone through and processed the photos that I want to put into an album for this trip, and I kind of want to get that done and start work on this year’s Japan trip before my next trip to Europe in November!

Here’s the Singelgracht canal:

Singelgracht canal view across to Weteringsplantsoen

And the Rijksmuseum:


New content today:

10k in 24 hours

This morning I got up, had breakfast, and went out for another 5k run. I felt fine after yesterday’s and thought I may as well do two back-to-back. As it turned out, I started an hour earlier and so finished the 5k run less than 24 hours after beginning yesterday’s run. I expect this is probably the first time in my life that I’ve run 10k in under 24 hours.

I also tried a new route. Mostly because I didn’t want to repeat exactly what I did yesterday. Normally I take my 2.5k route and instead of turning around at the halfway mark, I keep going to the end of the peninsula before turning back, which turns out to add almost exactly an extra 2.5k by the time I return to the fork point and complete the second half the 2.5 route.

But today I ran the normal 2.5k route and then continued, running up past the railway station, doing a short loop, and then heading down to the island at the bottom of the hill before heading back up. Here’s yesterday’s route, and here’s today’s route.

I want to try to work up to doing 10k in a single run – something I’ve never done before. I think one day when I feel super psyched up, I’ll head up to the sports oval at the hospital and just run laps. It’ll be boring doing 23 laps, but at least I won’t have to deal with hills!

After the run, I washed the car, which has been long overdue. It was getting quite dusty, so I’m glad that job is done. And I spent time this afternoon writing Irregular Webcomic! strips for a new batch which hopefully I’ll be ready to photograph no later than Monday afternoon, for the new week.

This evening I had lesson 5 in the current Creative Thinking & Game Design class. We’re tweaking our haunted house board game, though the student said he played it a few times and thought it was pretty good already. So maybe there’s not too much to change. And I got a third enrolment for the new instance of this course, starting on 11 September, so that’s great!

New content today:

Ramping up running and bird warnings

This morning I did the grocery run, picking up my online order. Normally I select fruit and vegetables by hand, rather than add them to the online order. Today I just got fruit, no vegetables, because we have so many vegetables still at home thanks to my wife doing community gardening and bringing home a lot of things. Her last haul included lemongrass, which I used tonight in a Thai green curry, along with some leafy greens and snow peas also from the garden (plus onion, carrot, and broccoli).

I had 4 ethics classes. I’m really enjoying the topic on “Colonising Space”, which I’ve structured around Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy. It’s nice because going through the major story beats in each book lead to a series of interesting questions for the kids.

Before lunch I did a 5k run. I’ve been feeling pretty good after 2.5k runs lately and thought I should try to do longer ones a bit more. I think I want to try extending to 10k at some point soonish.

At lunch I picked up Scully from my wife’s work. Before heading home we stopped at a cake shop where I grabbed a slice of very nice cheesecake. Scully got a tiny taste.

Tonight is online board games night with my friends. I won our first two games already: Applejack, and Jump Drive. I’m typing this up in pauses between taking my turns in other games.

Yesterday while having my sushi lunch up at the shops, I was sitting in the small plaza/park in the middle of the shopping area. It’s a nice area with two small patches of grass.

Ernest Place

And here’s a shot showing the left patch of grass a bit more.

Ernest Place

Professor Plum’s there is the science toy shop where they have the Dungeons & Dragons games on Saturday nights. I didn’t go up last weekend to check it out because that night Australia was playing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Anyway, the reason I took these photos was to show you the size of this area before telling you the fact that it has over 20 large signs warning people not to feed the birds.

Do not feed birds sign

And if you think that sign is ominous, look at this one:

Do not feed birds sign

The problem here is definitely the people who feed the birds. Magpies get habituated to the handouts and get aggressive, divebombing people and snatching food from their hands. They won’t do that if they aren’t used to getting handouts.

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First run in a while

This morning I went to pick up the groceries from the supermarket. I order online most things, but choose my own fruit and vegetables before I collect the online order. Today I needed to get onions, but … there were no onions. The place where the onions normally are was full of bags of potatoes. At first I thought they must have reshuffled the vegetable section like they seem to like to do every so often, but scanning the rest of it I couldn’t find any onions at all. A staff member noticed me searching in vain and asked if I needed some help. I asked if there were any onions. He led me over to the organic produce section, where there were a few dozen tiny onions for two or three times the cost of regular onions. I sort of looked askance at this, and without any further prompting the staff member picked up a couple of the onions and said, “I’ll just peel the stickers off for you.” So he peeled the “organic” price stickers off them and handed them to me. Okay. Not one to look a gift onion in the mouth, I took them.

I had four ethics classes today, so there wasn’t a lot of time to do much else. But after the first I managed to fit in my first 2.5k run since returning from Japan. It was a little too cold to be comfortable, and I took it easy since I was out of practice, and clocked just a couple of seconds under 13 minutes.

After that I had a shower and also cleaned the bathroom and shower. Then had lunch and then went out to pick up Scully from my wife’s work. I drove back via a bakery where they had a new product: a mini sticky date pudding. I like those so I tried it. It didn’t have butterscotch sauce which is the usual topping, but did come with a blob of icing on top. And the woman there asked if I’d like it heated up, which I accepted given it’s winter and a warm pudding would really hit the spot. The icing melted and made a kind of sauce, though a more sugary one. It wasn’t quite the same as a sticky date pudding you might get after a restaurant dinner, but pretty nice anyway.

Then it was into three ethics classes in a row – phew! I had another older group among them on the Privacy topic. There was an interesting contrast with yesterday’s class. I ask the question: At what age should children be given privacy by their parents, with respect to things like using email or messaging apps to talk with friends, or with what websites they visit? Yesterday, both students said about age 14. Today there were three students, and the first two said 18, while the second nominated 16.

Which actually reminds me of another interesting thing, from the younger classes. We’re talking about heroes and villains, and i bring up the story of Robin Hood – steals from the rich to give to the poor. I ask the kids is Robin Hood a villain for robbing people, or a hero for giving money to the poor? So far, almost all the kids have said he’s a villain. Stealing apparently feels so bad that it’s enough to make someone a villain. Then we have a bit of a discussion which brings up the point that in this story “the law” is actually being made by the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham.

After my classes, I went out for dinner with my wife, to our usual pizza place. It’s comfy and homey, and a good place to relax, and was really nice after our recent trip away.

Tonight is online board games with my friends. I’m in the middle of losing another game of 7 Wonders….

New content today:

A new running route

I mentioned briefly last weekend that I tried a new running route. I tried it again today, modifying what I did last weekend to add a little extra at the beginning by going around another block, because last week I ended up home before the 2.5 km mark and had to run a bit past it. Today the distance worked out perfectly.

My normal route involves walking up a steep hill from my place, and then beginning the run on a course which is mostly gently downhill, but with three significant uphill sections. The uphills are just before the halfway mark and then two more in the second half. I climb a total of 35 m (according to Strava), but end up at an elevation 30 metres lower than where I begin.

This new route has an uphill section at the beginning, followed by a very long downhill, including a steeper downhill section, and ends with a sustained gentle uphill for about the last kilometre. The total elevation gain is 34 m, but I end up only 22 metres lower than where I begin. It feels more difficult, because it launches straight into an extended uphill, and I get a bit more winded early in the run. It’s good to have a change of scenery though. This route shares no sections in common with my usual one.

Apart from that, I had a lunch at a Thai restaurant with my wife and her family today. Her mother and sister have just returned from a trip to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, so we were talking about that a lot.

And I worked on more Darths & Droids strips, before three ethics classes this afternoon. These were the first classes where I had to tell the students we’d be skipping the next two weeks because of my upcoming trip to Japan. This time next week I’ll be in Okayama!

New content today:

Finally a run again

This morning I did a 2.5k run – the first one in a week. I had no chance on the weekend with all of the other activities happening. I did a better time than last week, as I was still having a few lingering issues with COVID last week and this week I feel 100% again.

I had to work today on my lesson plan for the older ethics students, whose topic this week is Virtual Reality. The first class is first thing tomorrow morning, so I had to get it done today. I think I have plenty of material, and it should be interesting.

At lunch my wife and I took Scully for a walk to the Cornucopia Bakery at Naremburn. I had a Mexican pie, and they had little pecan pie tarts which I haven’t seen there before. They’re always changing their cake/pastry offerings and coming out with new things. Being a fan of pecan pie, I had to try it. It was a little different to what I consider a usual pecan pie, with the filling cooked a bit more, with a more toasty and slightly bitter charred flavour, which was actually nice to cut through the sweetness a bit.

The day was lovely, warm and sunny without being too hot. A perfect autumn day, in between the heat of summer and cold of winter. Leaves are starting to turn on the deciduous trees. It’s a very nice time of the year.

New content today:

A busy morning, a hot run

This morning I had an online meeting (via MS Teams) for ISO Photography Standards – specifically an ad-hoc technical meeting for investigating accuracy standards for depth measurement cameras. This is one of the new projects we’re working on and we’re in the experimental phase, gathering information to try to develop standards for measuring depth and resolution accuracy of such cameras. Unfortunately I can’t contribute with any actual experimental lab-work, but I’m in the ad-hoc group (essentially a technical subcommittee) because I have experience with and interest in these devices. The meeting was 08:30-09:30 my time, so convenient, but it ate up some of the morning.

After that my wife suggested we go for a long walk to the Naremburn bakery for morning tea. Sure! So we did that, taking Scully for a walk. They had a nice looking pastry filled with custard and sultanas, topped with flaked almonds, so I tried that.

When we got home (and this is a 4.5 km walk), I immediately changed and went out for a run. An I decided to do a long one, 5k! It was approaching noon by now, but I wanted to get it done then rather than later in the afternoon when it would just be hotter. It was an exhausting run.

I had to be home and showered and have lunch before my second game design class at 2pm – but the student didn’t show up. I’m going to have to contact the parent and arrange some make-up class time.

Then this evening was three more ethics/critical thinking classes on the UFOs topic. Two of them were good, with the kids demonstrating good critical thinking skills. But the first one I had three kids and they were all bouncing alien theories off each other the whole time, for every question! It was… well, interesting. At least I hope they had fun!

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Games night and steamy Saturday morning

Friday night was board games night at a friend’s place. I went straight after teaching my ethics classes, three in a row in the afternoon. We played Lords of Waterdeep and Camel Up, and then some rounds of a word game we invented using Bananagrams tiles.

Earlier on Friday I did the grocery shopping, had another ethics class, and then went to pick up Scully from my wife’s work. We went for a short drive to another suburb to grab a quick lunch and give Scully a walk.

This morning (Saturday) was rainy. It eased off about 10am, but was still overcast, so I took the opportunity to go for a run before it got too hot. I decided to do 5k instead of 2.5. About halfway through the sun came out and started heating up the wet roads. I could see clouds of water vapour rising off the roads as I ran through them. It was incredibly humid! And then by the time I finished the run it started raining again, so I arrived home soaking wet.

Once home I cleaned the bathroom and had a shower to cool off, then spent the afternoon making Irregular Webcomic! strips from the photos I shot on Tuesday. And this evening we all went out for dinner, walking up to the local shops and a Vietnamese restaurant there. It was nice sitting outside in the street ambience with dozens of other diners enjoying the warm evening air and summer twilight.

New content yesterday:

New content today:

Almost made a minor running goal

Today was overcast and not too warm. I went for a 2.5k run in the morning, and I decided to go fast early, in an effort to set a good time. I’ve noticed that it’s much easier to set a good time if I go fast right out of the gate, even though I will tend to slow down later as I get exhausted, rather than to start at a moderate pace in an effort to keep more stamina and try to speed up near the end.

Anyway, I started hard and tried to maintain as fast a pace as I could without feeling like I would exhaust myself before I finished. And I succeeded in clocking my best time since June last year. I’ve been trying to get below 12 minutes again – something I did a few times early last year, but haven’t managed since. Well, I’d like to report that I cracked 12 minutes today, but my time was 12:02.

I wrote and produced two new Darths & Droids strips today, with input from some of my co-authors. And at lunch we all went on a walk—me, my wife (who has Wednesdays off work), and Scully—to one of our usual bakeries. We came back a different way, because my wife had a hairdresser appointment, so we went via that, and I came home by myself after leaving them there – the hairdresser allows dogs in the salon!

Tonight I had three online classes in a row, which is always a bit of a slog, but I survived and it’s good to have the Tuesday and Wednesday classes done. I find them to be the toughest days, and it eases up for the rest of the week through to the end of the topic on Monday.

Time to unwind and relax for the rest of the evening!

New content today:

Faster running and okonomiyaki

Today was warmer than yesterday, but I pushed on and did another 2.5k run, in the heat and higher humidity, but managed 12:14, 31 seconds faster than yesterday. So I’m not sure what was wrong yesterday that made me go so slowly.

I mostly worked on Darths & Droids comics today, in between relaxing and leisure activities like taking Scully for a walk. For dinner I made okonomiyaki, as foreshadowed by buying cabbage yesterday.

As it was foretold

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