Back into running, and dog bandanas

Today I felt like I needed to get back into running, after a long break due to my trip away, followed by a week of heavy rain. My last 5k run was 3 March, so it’s been almost 4 weeks. I decided to take it a bit easy rather than strive for a good time. And I was forced to stop at the half-way mark to remove a painful stone from my shoe, which affected my time anyway. But I managed to keep the time under 30 minutes at 29:28, which I was reasonably happy with.

Apart from that I mostly worked on Darths & Droids writing and making new strips today. I still have to rebuild the buffer a bit more after my week away.

I also baked some sourdough this morning, and I’m glad to say the starter seems to have survived a week of neglect while I was away.

Oh, and I drew up a sizing chart for my wife’s hand-sewn dog bandanas (as in drew by hand) – which you can see on all of the listings on her brand new Etsy shop! If you have a pet and would like a cool bandana, check it out!

New content today:

Run, Forrest, Run!

I went running today for the first time since Monday last week (10 days ago). I intended to do a run earlier than this, but circumstances conspired to keep me busy during the cool mornings. It was a warm sunny morning today, and I felt out of practice and like I was going very slowly. I was prepared for a bed time…

But I was surprised when I finished the 5 kilometres and found my time to be 27:58, which is my best time on this particular route. So that was pretty good!

More comic writing work today. I need to get ahead in the buffering because my wife and I have a short road trip holiday planned in a couple of weeks.

New content today:

Running and sliding

It was time for another 5k run this morning. Nice cool weather, after the past few days of late summer heat. I clocked 28:15, over 40 seconds faster than the last two efforts. Strava also told me that I ran the first mile in my best ever time over that distance, a flat 8:00 minutes. I suppose I could probably do a mile faster than that, but I’ve never specifically run that distance and then stopped.

Back home I baked sourdough. I’ve tried increasing the semolina content again, this time to a full third of the total mass of flour. The dough was noticeably softer than usual, but seemed okay. The baked bread tastes fine, with a slight nutty flavour, and there’s a noticeable slight granularity from the semolina, but it’s not bad at all. I’d say it worked just fine.

I spent most of today working on slides and class notes for my Outschool class on Human Vision. I only got a few slides in when I realised I need more diagrams, so I switched to drawing diagrams for a bit. This is the way it goes… I hope to have the slides ready by Friday at the latest.

This evening I helped my wife go through the instructions for using her new sewing machine. She’s done sewing before, but not for a long time, and she needed to get familiar with the machine and remember how to do all the various things. She did some practice runs on scrap cloth, and it all seems to be going well.

New content today:

2 seconds faster

I was determined to do a second 5k run this week, and this morning was the time. It was a warmer morning, and sunny, but I managed to finish in 28:57, just 2 seconds faster than on Monday. Let’s see if I can keep up this enthusiasm for doing two runs a week…

Tomorrow I’m planning to try a new sourdough recipe: sourdough challah. My friend pointed me at a recipe which he says works well, so I’m going to give it a go, sticking as close to the recipe as I can. Today I had to feed the sourdough starter this morning, then tonight I make a levain (a new word I just learnt as I’m trying new things with sourdough), which sits overnight, before being used to make dough tomorrow morning, which then rises all day, before finally being baked tomorrow night. It’s a lot of lead-up time, so I hope it turns out!

New content today:

Drawing vision diagrams

Today I relaxed a bit after yesterday’s manic work at the market. By “relaxed”, I mean I went for a 5k run first thing in the morning. I tried running the loop at the halfway mark in the opposite direction today, which meant uphill sections on either side of a downhill, rather than vice versa. I don’t know if it made much difference overall, but my time today was 20 seconds slower than last week.

After the run, I got stuck into drawing some diagrams for my planned class on human vision and colour perception for Outschool. I need to draw my own diagrams to avoid using copyrighted images. Here’s my take on the layers of the human retina:

Retinal structure

I got most of the diagrams I need done, but still have a couple of tackle tomorrow. But now I can at least make a title image for my class to upload to Outschool, and start signing up students!

New content today:

Getting things done

This morning I thought I wanted to get another 5k run done, because I’ll have limited opportunity for the rest of the week, due to having an ISO Photography Standards meeting. It’s an online meeting, from 8:00 to 11:30 every morning in my time zone. I don’t really have time to do it before, if you include having breakfast and cooling down and probably having a shower to be comfortable for the meeting, and the afternoon is not a great option in our summer, and evenings are usually busy with other stuff. (I don’t think I’ve ever done a run in the evening.)

But this morning I also had to get some blood drawn for a cholesterol test, after fasting, so I couldn’t have breakfast before. So I wanted to get that done as soon as the pathology lab opened, and then go home and have breakfast… and by the time I was ready to go run it was approaching 10 o’clock. But fortunately it’s very cool today, with overcast skies keeping the sun out. So I got ready and went for the run.

I wanted to see if I could break 30 minutes for the 5k on the street route I’ve worked out, which is about as flat as I can find in this area. But it’s still a bit hilly, with an elevation gain of 87 metres over the 5k. I started hard, but when I hit the uphill sections about halfway through I thought maybe I’d gone too hard and would run out of steam before finishing. But I pushed through and managed to complete the 5k in 28:39! Much better than I’d hoped for.

Energised, I got stuck into writing a lesson outline for my planned initial class on Outschool: Human Vision and Colour Perception. I wrote out a list of bullet points of topics to cover. Then I made a list of diagrams and illustrations that I want to have. Many of these I could find on the Internet – however Outschool insists (justifiably) that you have legal rights to use any images you present in your classes. Which rules out most of what you can find – doubly so for scientific diagrams. There are a many good diagrams, but all covered by copyright, or which need to be purchased, or which are at least Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike, which is no good because I can’t easily include correct attribution in class materials and don’t necessarily want to release my material under the same licence.

So I’ve decided I need to draw the diagrams myself. So I have a list of diagrams, and now I need to sit down and draw them all. I did manage to get one done today, after fiddling with a couple of different drawing apps on my iPad. I’ll get stuck into the rest tomorrow.

I also had a combination of thoughts prompted by two things:

1. Earlier today I saw a question on AskReddit:

To those who think to themselves, “I should do this today,” and then end up doing it: is it possible to learn this power?

With several answers along the lines of: “When you think you should do something, just get up and do it, don’t put it off.”

2. I was thinking I really need to watch more of Neon Genesis Evangelion to get through all of the series, but how the heck am I going to find the time to do that…?

This made me realise that watching TV is one of the things that I procrastinate and never manage to get done. I always have too many other things that I want to do, so much so that I often end up thinking “I should watch some TV” and then never get around to it.

So maybe in order for me to achieve this goal, I need to stop putting off watching TV and just sit on my arse and DO IT.

New content today:

Two 5k runs in a week

My last 5k run was last Thursday. I felt like I wanted to do one early this week, but I was stymied by having to take a COVID test on Monday and then isolate at home for 24 hours. But this morning I was free, so I launched into it, running the same street route as last time. I wanted to try to break 30 minutes.

Unfortunately I didn’t quite manage that, but I trimmed 4 seconds off last Thursday’s time, clocking 30:18. And I managed to complete this second 5k run less than 7 days after the previous one! That feels pretty good.

The rest of the morning I spent taking photos of Lego sets for the new batch of Irregular Webcomic! I did it in record time, being pumped up from the run beforehand. And this afternoon I worked on writing and making new Darths & Droids comics.

Not much else to report today really… Took Scully to the park, cooked quiche for dinner… I might watch some more Neon Genesis Evangelion tonight.

Here’s a photo I took yesterday. It’s a metal utility cover panel – I guess underneath it are phone wires or gas mains or something.

Utility cover panel

New content today:

More running – 5k on the streets

After yesterday’s 2.5k run, I felt inspired to go out again today. I was all ready to go after breakfast, but when I got out the front door it was starting to rain. A quick look at the radar told me it was going to get heavier, so I called it off.

But after lunch the rain had stopped and the clouds looked lighter, so I ventured out. This time I tried to find another flattish route different to what I did yesterday. I walked up the nearest steep hill to the top of the ridge, and from there ran along the road that follows the ridge down to the harbour. This way I avoided most of the constant up and down climbing into and out of valleys. Of course heading downhill meant most of the back half was uphill, but thankfully the slopes weren’t too huge today.

By the time I got to the end of the ridge, down near the water, I’d covered 2.25 km. Coming back I went down some side streets instead of the main road, so it was a little longer and I hit 5k just before I got home, so the distance was good. I was pretty worn out by the end of it though. The weather was 22.1°C, 73% humidity. Nice and cool, but that humidity was nasty.

But I was happy to have covered the distance without slowing to a walk.

The other thing I did for most of the day was work on my Outschool class materials. I need to find diagrams to illustrate human vision and colour perception. There are plenty of good ones on the net, but I need them to be public domain, or royalty free, and that restricts things a lot. By the end of the day I’d only really found two half-decent images I could use, both old diagrams out of copyright.

But I’ve now decided that it’ll be easier for me to just draw all my own diagrams. I’ll put together the class notes, and decide what diagrams I want, and then sit down and draw them all in a batch. So that’s the task for the next few days.

New content today:

Cool running

The heatwave broke overnight and today dawned cool, although it was still very humid.

I decided to finally go on that run I’d wanted to do a few days ago. Normally I walk up to the nearest sports oval and run laps around the inside of the fence, because it’s flat. Running along streets around where I live is a recipe for going up and down a lot of hills, some of them pretty steep, and I usually want to avoid that.

But today I felt like taking a more scenic route, and hills be damned. I did a 2.5 km loop which is I think about the flattest possible route I could find in the area, but it still involves going up and down a lot, from a maximum altitude of 67 metres, down to essentially just a metre or two above sea level. I paused a a few places along the way to take photos, and I uploaded them into an album with comments.

The weather when I ran was 22.5°C, but 86% humidity. It didn’t feel too hot while running, but once I stopped and went inside, the sweating started up and just didn’t stop for ages. All I was doing was sitting down, drinking cold water, and occasionally wiping myself with a cold, damp cloth, but it took over an hour to start to feel comfortable again.

I spent today editing together the video I made for Outschool, as a teacher introduction. My teacher profile isn’t publicly viewable yet, because I haven’t made a class, but once it is, I’ll be able to point to it. I also started writing a class description for my first planned class. I’m going to do a class on “Human vision and colour perception” for kids of age 11-13.

Speaking of teaching, school started today after the summer holidays – the start of a brand news school year. My Ethics classes won’t be starting for a few weeks, as the school gets the kids settled in – I’m guessing my first class with the new kids will be late February.

New content today:

Outschool approved

Good news today! I got notification that I’ve been approved to teach classes online on Outschool. This was a long process, because they run background checks to ensure you’re eligible to teach children (i.e. have no relevant criminal convictions), and since Outschool is based in the US, they use a third party company to run checks with the Australian Federal Police. Which means that all the paperwork shuffling takes a long time. Anyway, my checks have all come through clean, and I can now start the process of listing classes that I want to teach on Outschool. I have to complete a couple of training modules first, and then come up with lesson plans.

This is all great because it’s going to be a way that I can bring in some more income to supplement the relatively small amounts I’ve managed to make so far selling my photography. Hopefully that will go up as well when markets start up in earnest after COVID, but I think Outschool will be more reliable.

Earlier this morning I restarted my exercise routine, by going for a jog around the neighbourhood. Rather than get straight into a 5k run on a flat track, I decided to do a run around a couple of large street blocks for more interesting scenery. The disadvantage is that it’s up and down hills, although the route I chose is mostly fairly gentle, especially compared to some other routes I could take around here. I used to run this route a few years ago, and at that time found it a bit of a struggle to keep going all the way home on the final long uphill stretch. But today I found it fairly easy going, so I think the running I did a few months ago has improved things and not worn off completely yet. Phew! The route today was 2.2 km, so I’ll work back up to 5k runs again over the next week or two.

After the run, I walked up to the supermarket to buy some flour, for baking sourdough. I started with feeding my starter yesterday (with wholemeal flour), then realised I didn’t have any plain flour left to make up a loaf. So I had to get it today before making the dough. I decided to get a large 5 kg bag, and a plastic storage tub to put it in. This is baker’s flour, which should have more gluten in it for making bread, compared to plain flour. So we’ll see how much difference that makes in the final loaf, which I’ll bake tomorrow morning.

New content today: