Trying a burger

I think the most exciting thing I did today was try a hamburger at a place I haven’t eaten before. My wife wanted to take a long walk with me and Scully on her day off and suggested the same bakery I went to yesterday. It’s a nice walk, but I didn’t want to eat from there again. There are a few other shops adjacent, including a place that specialises in hamburgers. So I tried one of those.

Yeah… I don’t think I’ll have a burger from there again. It was okay, but decidedly average. If I don’t want to have anything from the bakery again, I think I’ll try the fish & chips shop instead. Or maybe the Thai place.

Other achievements: Grocery shopping. Broccoli is still insanely expensive due to the floods, so I’m cycling through all the other green vegetables instead of buying broccoli. Today I got string beans.

And I did a 2.5k run. In the cold. The maximum temperature today was only 15°C – very cold, although it was bright and sunny.

New content today:

Eggs and pizza

I had three ethics classes this morning, which basically eats up the whole morning. I took Scully for a walk while I got some lunch, and on the way home I bought eggs, since we were low at home. For dinner I made pizza. Um… oh, I went for a 2.5k run. I did a better time than yesterday, when I took it a bit easier.

New content today:

A nice seafood lunch

My wife was home from work today so we took the opportunity to go and have a nice lunch out. There’s a place near us that does oven grilled salmon and other things. She felt like that salmon so suggested we go there. I chose a “seafood stew” which looks suspiciously like cioppino – a dish I had once in the San Francisco Bay area and which was delicious. So when I saw it on the menu I decided I’d try it. It came with flame grilled rye sourdough slices and was indeed good.

Speaking of rye, I tried making rye sourdough myself today for the first time. I’ve been looking for rye flour for a while, but the supermarket doesn’t stock it. I found some in a health food shop the other day and bought a small amount to try it. I made a loaf with about 1/3 rye flour and the rest white bread flour. It turned out really nice!

Rye sourdough

Oh, and an interesting observation from my ethics/critical thinking classes so far on the topic of Food. Most of the kids think it would be a good idea if there were rules or regulations to restrict how unhealthy restaurant food can be. Like a maximum proportion of butter or salt in dishes. Very few of them have said that restaurant chefs should be free to make food with any amount of unhealthy ingredients they want.

New content today:

Icing my back

Despite taking it easy last night and trying not to aggravate my twinged back, it stiffened up badly overnight. I made an appointment with my physiotherapist, at midday today. The guy I see is really good and loosens up my pelvic joints and realigns things so it feels a lot better. Then it’s just a matter of getting the inflammation down, which in the past has taken a few days. But today he mentioned that if I was an athlete I’d put an ice pack on it for 15 minutes, take it off for half an hour, and repeat that all day, and by tomorrow it’d be completely fine. I never realised I could do something like that! If it helps heal faster, I’m all over it!

So I’ve been icing my back on and off for much of the afternoon. And yeah, it feels a lot better already, so it seems to be working. I’ll see how it is after another night’s sleep.

The other main thing I did today was write up my lesson plan for the new online ethics topic of Food. I included stuff on dumpster diving for discarded food, food waste, healthy and unhealthy food, and some ethical questions about the impact of raising meat on the environment, and also the impact of shipping food around the world just so we can buy peaches in the middle of winter. One kid tonight had a very interesting idea about junk food, suggesting that people should get a maximum quota of junk food per month, “maybe two chocolate bars or something.”

Oh, and the rain is back again… It was very cold today, a maximum of only 13°C in Sydney, which is the second coldest day of the year so far. It’s supposed to be rainy for the whole week. We’re definitely approaching that all-time yearly rain record.

New content today:

85% complete

The secret project is now 85% complete, after a hard day of working on it. Not long to go now!

At lunch I went on a long walk with my wife and Scully to the Italian bakery about 3 km away. They had a special today, which was a banoffee croissant. Imagine a pain au chocolat, with the addition of some sweetened mashed banana in the middle, drizzled with toffee on top, sprinkled with some of those tiny chocolate malt balls, and topped with dried banana chips. It was as delicious as it sounds! Alas I neglected to take a photo. I just hope that they have it again some time when I go back there.

New content today:

Secret project and cheesecake

I had one online class this morning.

Then I spent most of the day working on my secret project. It’s approaching completion – I actually have numbers. It’s over 80% complete as of this evening. This isn’t a vapourware project – it’s something that will see the light of day and you will all be able to see it when it’s done. I expect that to be within the next month or so – it’s a bit of a toss-up if it’ll be before or after I travel to Germany on 17 June. But I’ll say definitely by some time in July.

I took a lunch break walk with Scully, doing the longish walk to what’s become our favourite bakery. I’m amazed all over again every time we go back and their selection of cakes and sweet treats is different yet again. This time they had individual cheesecakes – plain, raspberry, and blueberry. I had a blueberry one, following the sausage roll for a savoury lunch.

Not much else to say about today, really, except perhaps that it was a nice day – sunny and not too cold.

New content today:

Online grocery shopping shenanigans

This morning I was determined to do my online grocery shopping order for pickup on Friday, because for the past two weeks Ive been too busy and forgot to do it in time, and ended up having to go and do all of the shopping manually, walking around the entire supermarket to grab stuff, which takes significantly longer.

I normally like to pick up between 7-8am on Friday, but when I went to select a pick-up time, I saw that slot wasn’t available, and in fact they had nothing before 2pm. So I shrugged and selected 2-3pm.

Then at 2pm today I got a text message on my phone saying my order was ready to pick up! I’d accidentally selected today instead of Friday. I couldn’t go get it today, as I had things to do, and I was looking after Scully as well, so I couldn’t go into the supermarket with her. So I had to phone the supermarket and say I’d accidentally selected the wrong day, and could I please pick up my groceries tomorrow instead. They were very understanding and helpful and said that would be fine (I guess they get this problem a lot). The woman asked me what time tomorrow I’d like. I should have said 7am… but wanting to cause as little fuss as possible I just said “the same time, 2pm will be fine”.

Then on the way home from university this evening I suddenly realised I can’t pick it up at 2pm tomorrow either! I have an online ethics class at 2pm! Ugh. So now tomorrow morning I’m going to have to call them up again and change the pick-up time again.

Tonight was the last teaching night of the Data Engineering course at university, so from next week I’ll have my Thursday evenings free again. That should make my current time pressure a bit easier.

For lunch today I took Scully for a walk to the fish & chips place and we had a nice lunch overlooking the harbour, on what looks like being the final sunny day for a while. The weather forecast for the next week is back to rain every day. But the brief dry spell was glorious while it lasted. All… (checks Bureau of Meteorology website)… Good lord. We’ve had just three days without rain, and it feels like it’s been sunny forever.

For dinner tonight before the university class, I went to Chinatown, which is just a couple of blocks from the university. I found a place with outdoor tables and a bunch of noodle restaurants, where I got a cheap and huge bowl of fried hand-made noodles with chicken and vegetables.

Knife-cut noodles, Chinatown

Delicious and very filling!

The other issue that arose today was the database for Irregular Webcomic! got updated to a new MySQL version the other day. It seemed to be working fine, but people pointed out issues with UTF-8 encoded characters not rendering properly. It seems something in the upgrade changed the encoding of characters in the database fields. I need to have a close look and figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it, which is not something else I needed to add to my over-full to-do list. So it’ll have to wait a bit.

New content today:

Making an apple pie from scratch

Okay, not quite from scratch:

But tonight I tried my hand at sweet shortcrust pastry for the first time, and tried making an apple pie. I think I added a bit too much milk to the pastry, because it was very sticky when I tried to roll it out, and I had to mix in a bit more flour before I could manage to roll it. it’s in the oven now for the final bake, so let’s see how it turns out.

There’s been a bit of cooking tonight, as my wife made pizza dough and topped it with things for dinner. So the oven’s been going for some time.

Okay, half an hour later… the apple pie turned out… rustic.

Apple pie from scratch

New content today:

Pancakes and mud

I made sourdough buckwheat pancakes for breakfast this morning. This is pretty unusual – I don’t normally cook breakfast because my wife and I usually eat muesli pretty much every day. I know some people do cooked breakfasts, but it’s very rare for us. But I’d bought buckwheat flour recently to try some in a sourdough loaf of bread, and we have maple syrup that a friend sent from the USA, so it seemed like a perfect confluence.

My wife and I took Scully on a big walk today for exercise and some ball chasing at a small park out on the headland in the harbour. We took a bushwalk route along the harbour foreshore, behind the houses sitting on the hill above. It’s a nice walk near the water and you can almost imagine you’re far from civilisation. But the path gets muddy in wet weather and, of course, we’ve been having a lot of that lately. So we had to negotiate several muddy patches along the way. And then the park at the end was a bit soggy too, so Scully got pretty muddy.

So when we got home, we gave Scully a bath straight away. You should have seen the dirt that washed off her in the bathtub!

I cleaned the bathroom and shower today, being careful not to strain my back like I did two weeks ago. It’s much better now, but I did it soon after a morning of housework, and I didn’t want a repeat today. I’ve also started running again after my back has settled down. After a 2-week break it’s a bit difficult and my leg muscles are a bit tired and stiff, but if I keep it up it’ll get better.

New content today:

Games and Indian dinner

Friday night was online board games night with the guys. I ate dinner at home so I could join in early this week. We played Dice Forge, Can’t Stop Express, 7 Wonders, Azul, Scattergories, Codenames, and Sketchful. And possibly something else that I’ve forgotten.

Most of the day yesterday and today I spent working on my current secret project. There’s a bit of a deadline on this, so it’s occupying a lot of my time at the moment, and there’s nothing I can really say about it.

Oh, Thursday night I had that ISO planning meeting. We were deciding if enough people were prepared to travel to Cologne to have a face-to-face meeting, or if we should convert it to a fully online meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be finalised as a three-day face-to-face meeting, so I could travel to Germany, attend the meeting, and then have several days free at the end to explore some of the Netherlands. On the other hand, if we cancelled the face-to-face and did a virtual meeting, I would reschedule our flights and we’d have a pure vacation trip a few weeks later.

Unfortunately we kind of ended up with the worst of both worlds. Enough people are planning to travel to make it worthwhile doing it face to face, but virtually all of the Japanese contingent are not travelling—probably restricted by their companies in ongoing COVID precautions. So to please them it was decided to have a hybrid meeting, and instead of 3 days of 9-5 meetings, it’s going to be spread out as 5 days of meetings from 12:00-17:00. This is bad for me, because now I have to spend 5 full days in Cologne, while my wife entertains herself while I’m in the meetings, and then we only have a few days left at the end for sightseeing before heading home. SO it’s less than ideal, but I guess we just have to make the most of it.

Tonight for dinner we decided to go to an Indian restaurant that is a bit over half an hour’s walk from our place. We took Scully there in her doggie backpack, and she walked all the way home. I tried a new dish that I’ve never seen before: pistachio chicken, which was very nice.

New content yesterday:

New content today: